Selective retransplant after graft loss to nonadherence: success with a second chance

Am J Transplant. 2009 Jun;9(6):1337-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02625.x. Epub 2009 May 13.


Nonadherence (NA) is a difficult posttransplant problem that can lead to graft loss. A retransplant is controversial because of a fear of recurrent NA. We reviewed our center's data base and identified 114 kidney recipients who lost their graft to overt NA; of this group, 35 (31%) underwent a retransplant after a thorough reevaluation. We compared this NA retransplant group to a control group of second transplant recipients who did not lose their first graft to overt NA (non-NA) (n = 552). After 8 years of follow-up, we found no significant differences between the groups in actuarial graft or patient survival rates, renal function, or the incidence of biopsy-proven chronic rejection. However, 5 of 35 (14%) NA recipients versus 10 of 552 (2%) non-NA recipients lost their retransplant to NA (p = 0.0001). Twenty of 35 (57%) of the NA group exhibited repeat NA behavior after retransplant. We conclude that prior graft loss to NA is associated with increased graft loss to NA after retransplant. However, the majority of NA retransplant recipients did well-with overall long-term outcomes similar to those of the non-NA group. With careful patient selection and aggressive intervention, prior overt NA should not be an absolute contraindication to retransplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / etiology*
  • Graft Survival / immunology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation* / immunology
  • Kidney Transplantation* / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Selection
  • Reoperation*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Treatment Outcome