Background: Pediatric en bloc kidney grafts, especially those from donors aged younger than 12 months, are still regarded controversially with respect to long-term graft survival and function as well as the postoperative development of serious hypertension and proteinuria.
Patients and methods: This retrospective single-center study analyzed 78 pediatric en bloc kidney grafts transplanted between October 1989 and December 2008. Mean donor age was 15 months in the pediatric en bloc kidney donor group and 37.8 years in the matched pair group. The mean follow-up period was 9.3 years (range, 1-19 years). Statistical analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier test for patient and graft survival. Continuous variables were compared using independent sample t test.
Results: Graft survival for the pediatric donors after 1, 5, and 10 years were 83.1%, 76.0%, 73.9% and for the matched pair control group 89.6%, 78.7%, and 57.8%, respectively. Serum creatinine levels after 1, 5, and 10 years were 1.0, 0.8, 1.1 mg/dL and for the matched pair control group 1.5, 1.7, and 1.6 mg/dL, respectively. No significant long-term differences were detected between the study cohort groups with respect to the postoperative development of hypertension and proteinuria.
Conclusion: Overall, pediatric en bloc kidney grafts are well suited to extend the scarce kidney donor pool in experienced centers because of a superior long-term outcome for graft survival and function in comparison with deceased adult kidney grafts. Special attention has to be paid to the substantial higher initial graft loss rate during the first postoperative year.