The effect of timing of the first kidney transplantation on survival in children initiating renal replacement therapy

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2012 Mar;27(3):1256-64. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfr493. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Background: Controversy exists concerning the timing of the first kidney transplantation for children who need to start renal replacement therapy (RRT). Our aim was to estimate the effect of timing of the first transplantation on patient survival in children, for the first time also taking into account the mortality on dialysis before transplantation.

Methods: We included 2091 patients who started RRT between the age of 3 and 18 years in the period 1988-2007, from 13 European renal registries. A multistate model was used to simulate patient survival assuming (i) pre-emptive transplantation, (ii) transplantation after 1 or 2 years on dialysis and (iii) remaining on dialysis.

Results: Over the 20-year period, the highest 8-year survival probabilities were achieved in children transplanted pre-emptively {living donor (LD): 95.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 93.1-98.8], deceased donor (DD): 95.3% (95% CI: 90.9-99.9)} rather than after 2 years of dialysis [LD: 94.2% (95% CI: 91.6-96.8), DD: 93.4% (95% CI: 91.0-95.9)], although these differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Even after taking mortality on dialysis into account, the potentially negative effect of postponing transplantation for 1 or 2 years was relatively small and not statistically significant. Therefore, if pre-emptive transplantation is not possible, starting RRT with a short period of dialysis and receiving a transplant thereafter seems an acceptable alternative from the perspective of patient survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Dialysis / mortality*
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / mortality*
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors
  • Young Adult