Kidney transplantation in the morbidly obese: complicated but still better than dialysis

Clin Transplant. 2011 May-Jun;25(3):401-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2010.01328.x. Epub 2010 Oct 14.


Obese patients are denied renal transplantation in many centers. We report results regarding obesity from a new transplant program (1999 through 2007). Six hundred and forty-two patients were transplanted: 439 patients with BMI < 30 (Group 1), 109 patients with BMI 30.1-34.9 (Group 2), and 89 patients with BMI > 35 (Group 3). Follow-up was at least one yr. Medical and surgical management was performed by the same team throughout the study period. There were no demographic differences between groups except for increased diabetes in Groups 2 and 3. Actuarial graft and patient survivals were not statistically different between groups. Group 3 patients had numerical trends toward more delayed graft function and lower graft survivals but these did not reach statistical significance. Biopsy-proven rejections did not differ between groups. Wound infections were statistically significant in Groups 2 and 3 compared to Group 1 (p < 0.01). Despite increased wound infection rates with increased BMI, transplanting patients with morbid obesity results in better survival for individual patients than dialysis. Thus, there is no a priori ethical reason for treating obese ESRD patients differently from those with other comorbidities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Graft Rejection / etiology
  • Graft Rejection / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate