Background: There is a paucity of population-level data on the long-term outcomes of kidney transplants from deceased donors with a history of diabetes mellitus (DM).
Methods: We examined the association of donor DM with graft and patient survival in 66,654 deceased donor kidney transplant recipients (KTR) from January 1, 1994, to December 31, 2003, in the United States. KTR receiving kidneys from DM versus non-DM donors were compared in the total study population and in a 1:1 propensity score-matched cohort.
Results: A total of 2302 KTR received kidneys from DM donors over the study period. Older and female recipients, increased donor age, longer cold ischemia time, and transplants after 2000 were associated with a greater odds of receiving a DM donor. After propensity score matching, Cox proportional hazards models revealed hazard ratios of 1.11 (95% CI: 1.02-1.22), 1.17 (95% CI: 1.04-1.33), and 1.06 (95% CI: 0.94-1.18) for graft failure, death-censored graft failure, and patient mortality, respectively. No significant effect measure modification was seen across various patient subgroups. Longer duration of donor DM was generally associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes. The results were robust to several sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: The long-term graft survival of KTR with DM donors is significantly inferior to non-DM donors, but the absolute difference is small. DM donors do not adversely impact patient survival. This suggests that DM donors may be effectively used to expand the donor pool, but evidence-based guidelines on the appropriate selection of these donors are needed.