Pretransplant nephrectomy in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

Transplant Proc. 2005 Mar;37(2):666-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2004.12.115.


Background: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common inherited kidney disease and a frequent cause of end-stage renal failure. Transplantation in patients with ADPKD is associated with specific cyst-related problems, especially urinary tract infections (UTI). Although pretransplant nephrectomy has been applied in this group of patients, evidence of the benefits of this strategy is lacking. Therefore, we compared the outcomes and posttransplant complications among patients with or without pretransplant nephrectomy.

Patients and methods: ADPKD patients (73) transplanted from cadaveric donors were reviewed retrospectively with regard to posttransplant complications and outcomes. The groups either underwent pretransplant unilateral nephrectomy (n = 30) or were transplanted with native kidneys intact (n = 43).

Results: Two patients underwent simultaneous bilateral nephrectomy due to a large size of the polycystic kidneys interfering with the transplant operation. Overall postransplant complications were more frequent in the group without nephrectomy (34% vs 20%); however, the difference was not statistically significant. Most complications were related to cyst infections with 3 deaths (12%) due to lethal septicemia in the group without nephrectomy. No infection-related deaths were noted in the group with pretransplant nephrectomy.

Conclusions: Graft and patient outcomes as well postransplant complications were similar in both groups, independent of previous nephrectomy. It seems that pretransplant unilateral nephrectomy should not be routine and has no advantage over transplantation with both native kidneys intact, although this conclusion is limited by the small number of patients. An Individualized approach should be applied especially when there has been a history of cyst-related infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology
  • Kidney Transplantation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / classification
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors


  • Immunosuppressive Agents