Pretransplant evaluation of renal transplant candidates

Semin Nephrol. 2002 Nov;22(6):515-25. doi: 10.1053/snep.2002.35966.


Kidney transplantation should be strongly considered for all medically suitable patients with chronic and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Improvements in outcomes after renal transplantation have resulted in a more liberal selection of patients. High-risk category patients including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive, highly sensitized patients, T-cell positive cross-match, and ABO blood group-incompatible patients are now considered potential renal transplant candidates. Unfortunately, the demand for kidney transplants far exceeds the supply of available organs, causing a persistent increase in the number of patients on the waiting list with a parallel increase in the waiting time for a cadaveric kidney transplant. This has 2 major consequences. First, patients on the waiting list are getting sicker and older. Second, living donors have assumed increasing importance in renal transplantation. Pre-existing morbidities including malignancies, cardiovascular disease, infections, and coagulopathies should be extensively evaluated before proceeding to transplantation. Special attention should be given to cardiovascular risk factors because the leading cause of death after renal transplant is cardiovascular disease. A full immunologic evaluation with ABO blood group determination, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing, screening for antibody to HLA phenotypes, and cross-matching need to be gathered before transplantation to avoid antibody-mediated hyperacute rejection or to proceed with specific protocols in highly sensitized or in positive T-cell cross-match patients. With the increased rate of donation from living donors, regular follow-up evaluation of kidney donors is recommended to detect hypertension or proteinuria in those who may develop it.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Histocompatibility Testing*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation* / immunology
  • Living Donors*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Recurrence
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Waiting Lists