Background: This study evaluated the relationship between renal transplantation and the evolution of lower extremity peripheral vascular occlusive disease (PVOD).
Methods: A total of 664 adult renal allograft recipients from 1985-1995 were retrospectively reviewed for atherosclerotic risk factors and peripheral vascular occlusive disease (PVOD). PVOD events were defined as bypass, major amputation, claudication, or percutaneous angioplasty. Follow-up ranged from 2-12 years.
Results: The cumulative 5- and 10-year incidences of lower extremity PVOD after renal transplantation were 4.2 and 5.9%. Eight of 14 patients (57%) with pretransplant PVOD had additional PVOD events versus de novo appearance of PVOD in 21/650 patients (3.2%; P<0.0001). In a proportional hazards model, age, preoperative PVOD, diabetes, and postoperative smoking were independent risk factors for the development of PVOD after transplantation. Recipients with lower extremity PVOD had significantly lower 10-year patient and graft survival. Increased graft failure was due to an excess of deaths with a functioning graft. A total of 34 major interventions were performed. One- and two-year limb salvage rates were 64.2 and 53.8%.
Conclusions: Lower extremity PVOD after renal transplantation is associated with diminished patient survival, and affects kidney graft survival via disproportionate patient attrition. Age, preoperative PVOD, diabetes, and postoperative smoking are important risk factors. Transplantation does not appear to either accelerate or retard the progression of disease. An aggressive approach towards limb salvage in properly selected patients is justifiable.