Management of thrombophilia in renal transplant patients

Am J Transplant. 2002 Oct;2(9):872-6. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-6143.2002.20910.x.


Renal allograft recipients with thrombophilia (a hypercoagulable state) are at higher risk for early allograft loss. Following an episode of allograft renal vein thrombosis in a patient subsequently diagnosed with protein C deficiency, we adopted universal screening for hypercoagulable risk factors. Patients with a history of a thromboembolic event underwent laboratory screening for thrombophilia. Eight patients with a defined hypercoagulable disorder or a strong clinical history of thrombosis even in the absence of hematologic abnormalities were treated with anticoagulation following renal transplantation. We reviewed the outcomes of these eight patients and all renal transplant recipients at our center who developed thrombotic complications after renal transplantation. Since the introduction of universal screening for hypercoagulable risk factors, 235 consecutive transplants were performed without allograft thrombosis. Eight patients with evidence of thrombophilia, recognized before renal transplantation, received perioperative heparin and postoperative oral anticoagulation. Two of these eight patients developed perinephric hematomas requiring evacuation, blood transfusion, and temporary withholding of anticoagulation. Of interest, two of the remaining 227 patients, not identified with thrombophilia before surgery, developed thrombotic complications after renal transplantation. A hypercoagulable disorder was subsequently documented in each. Identifying patients with thrombophilia before transplantation and defining their management presents many challenges. The risk of allograft thrombosis must be weighed against the risk of perioperative bleeding and the need for long-term anticoagulation. Recommendations for managing thrombophilia in renal transplant recipients are suggested based on our experience and review of the literature.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / pharmacology
  • Aspirin / pharmacology
  • Graft Rejection / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Thrombophilia / prevention & control
  • Thrombophilia / therapy*
  • Warfarin / pharmacology


  • Anticoagulants
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Warfarin
  • Aspirin