Cause of death with graft function among renal transplant recipients in an integrated healthcare system

Transplantation. 2011 Jan 27;91(2):225-30. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181ff8754.


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in renal transplant recipients with a functioning allograft. Modification of CVD risk factors may, therefore, decrease overall mortality in this patient population. We studied renal transplant recipients within an integrated healthcare system (IHS) that uses case management and electronic health records to determine mortality from CVD.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data on all renal transplant recipients over a 10-year period. The primary endpoint was death with graft function (DWGF). Cardiovascular events were used as secondary endpoints. We determined the cause of death and collected laboratory data. The data were analyzed using Student's t test for continuous data, chi square for categorical data, and multivariate logistic regression. Survival was determined using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method.

Results: Death from "other" causes accounted for 29%. This was followed by CVD (24%), infection (16%), and malignancy (12%). The most common "other" causes were diabetes mellitus and end-stage renal disease. Overall, lower hemoglobin, uncontrolled blood pressure, and lower albumin levels were associated with DWGF. There were 184 cardiovascular events in total. Low-density lipid levels were lower in the group with cardiovascular events and DWGF. The use of antihypertensive and antihyperlipidemic agents was similar between the two groups with the exception of diuretics, which were used more often in the DWGF group.

Conclusions: There was a low rate of DWGF because of CVD within this IHS. It is possible that coordinated care within an IHS leads to improved cardiovascular mortality.

MeSH terms

  • California / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Female
  • Graft Survival / physiology
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality*
  • Kidney Transplantation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies