Objective: To compare intermediate-term outcomes in adult recipients of expanded criteria (ECD) versus concurrent standard criteria (SCD) deceased donor kidney transplants at a single center using a standardized approach.
Summary background data: Expanded criteria donors (ECDs) are a source of kidneys that increase the donor organ pool, but the value of transplanting these kidneys has been questioned because of concerns regarding diminished survival and predicted poorer intermediate-term outcomes.
Methods: Over a 47-month period, we performed 244 deceased donor kidney transplants into adult recipients, including 143 from SCDs and 101 from ECDs. Management algorithms were implemented to preserve nephron function, and recipient selection for an ECD kidney transplant was based on low immunologic risk. All patients received depleting antibody induction in combination with tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil. A total of 188 patients (77%) had at least a 1-year follow-up.
Results: ECDs were older, had a higher BMI, had an increased incidence of cerebrovascular brain death and preexisting donor hypertension, and had a lower estimated creatinine clearance (CrCl, all P < 0.01) compared with SCDs. Cold ischemic times were similar between groups, but more ECD kidneys were preserved with pulsatile perfusion (P < 0.01). ECD kidney recipients were older, less sensitized, had a lower BMI, had fewer 0-antigen mismatches, and had a shorter waiting time (all P < 0.01) compared with SCD kidney recipients. Actual patient (93%) and kidney graft (83%) survival rates were similar between groups with a mean follow-up of 24 months. The rates of delayed graft function (DGF), acute rejection, readmissions, operative complications, major infections, and resource utilization were comparable between groups. Renal function followed longitudinally was consistently better in SCD patients (P < 0.05). Black recipients had higher rates of DGF, acute rejection, and graft loss (P < 0.05), but the effects were less pronounced in the ECD group.
Conclusions: By appropriate donor and recipient profiling and the use of management algorithms to project and protect renal function, excellent intermediate-term outcomes can be achieved with ECD kidney transplants that are comparable to SCD kidney transplants.