Cold ischemia time, surgeon, time of day, and surgical complications

Transplantation. 2004 May 15;77(9):1386-9. doi: 10.1097/


Background: Surgical factors are an important cause of early renal allograft loss and contribute to patient morbidity and mortality. The United Kingdom National Confidential Enquiry into Peri-operative Deaths has reported that operating out of normal working hours was associated with higher patient mortality because of inexperienced surgeons. In this study, we looked into whether operating outside normal working hours or the grade of the surgeon affected the incidence of surgical complications. We also examined the relationship between cold ischemic time (CIT) and likelihood of surgical complications.

Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective review of 322 adult recipients who received their first cadaver kidney transplant in our center between January 1, 1998 and June 30, 2001. Information on surgical complications were collected from patients' records. CIT, time of surgery, and grade of the operating surgeons was obtained from a local audit database ( and the database held by UK Transplant.

Results: Surgical complication(s) were less likely to occur if one of the surgeons was a consultant (P =0.002). We found no association between cold storage and incidence of surgical complication(s). The median CIT was 21.30 (range 3.3-43.5) hours, n=229, in the group without complications compared with 21.80 (8.8-47.9) hours, n=77, for those with complications. The incidence of surgical complications was the same regardless of whether the operation took place during the day, evening, or night.

Conclusions: Prolonged CIT and operating out of normal working hours did not increase the incidence of surgical complications. Presence of a consultant did, however, reduce the likelihood of a surgical complication occurring.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Cadaver
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ischemia*
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors