Native nephrectomy for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: before or after kidney transplantation?

BJU Int. 2011 Aug;108(4):590-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09938.x. Epub 2010 Dec 16.


Study Type - Therapy (case series).

Level of evidence: 4. What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? The indications and timing of native nephrectomy in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is controversial, especially for those undergoing renal transplantation. Post-transplant unilateral native nephrectomy appears to be the preferred intervention compared to pre-transplant native nephrectomy. There seems to be substantial additive risk to bilateral over unilateral nephrectomy, especially prior to transplantation. Pre-transplant native nephrectomy should only be carried out when there are clear indications such as massive size preventing allograft placement, severe pain, early satiety, recurrent bleeding and infections, or suspected malignancy.

Objective: To analyse indications, timing and outcomes of native nephrectomy in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) patients listed for kidney transplantation.

Patients and methods: A retrospective analysis of all ADPKD patients who had a native nephrectomy prior to or following transplantation between January 2003 and December 2009 at a single centre, including those undergoing the sandwich technique (removal of the most severely affected native kidney prior to transplantation, and the other afterwards), was undertaken.

Results: There were 35 individuals in our cohort (M : F = 16 : 19), with a median age of 51.5 years (range 43-65). Twenty patients were in the pre-transplant nephrectomy group, 12 in the post-transplant group, and three underwent the sandwich technique. Indications for nephrectomy varied but were most commonly pain/discomfort, space for transplantation, ongoing haematuria, recurrent infections, and gastrointestinal pressure symptoms (early satiety). Seven individuals in the pre-transplant group and three in the post-transplant group required critical care admission after nephrectomy. Transient renal graft dysfunction occurred in two post-transplant bilateral nephrectomy patients. Two patients in the bilateral nephrectomy pre-transplant group and one in the bilateral nephrectomy post-transplant group died in the immediate post-operative period. No complications were noted in the sandwich technique group.

Conclusion: Native nephrectomy in ADPKD is a major undertaking associated with significant morbidity especially in the pre-transplant group. Post-transplant unilateral nephrectomy appears to be the safest approach with fewest complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / pathology
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / surgery*
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome