Inactivity on the kidney transplant wait-list is associated with inferior pre- and post-transplant outcomes

Clin Transplant. Jul-Aug 2013;27(4):E435-41. doi: 10.1111/ctr.12173.


Background: The majority of kidney transplant (KT) candidates spend some time on the transplant wait-list (WL) prior to kidney transplantation. We examined the impact of WL inactivity on clinical outcomes.

Methods: All adult KT candidates first actively wait-listed between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2005, in the United States were grouped by frequency of inactivity on the WL. Transplantation rate, pre- and post-transplant patient survival and death-censored kidney graft survival were compared.

Results: Of 159,774 candidates who were placed on the WL, 48,598 (30.4%) experienced one or more periods of inactivity. Candidates with inactivity once or more on the WL had 42% and 27% less likelihood of KT, respectively (HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.57, 0.59 and HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.71, 0.75). WL inactivity once or more was associated with a higher likelihood of death (HR 1.94, 95% CI 1.88, 2.00 and HR 2.13, 95% CI 2.02, 2.24). Among KT recipients, inactivity more than once on the WL was associated with a higher risk of death (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05, 1.23).

Conclusions: Periods of inactivity on the WL predict increased mortality pre- and post-transplantation. A better understanding of the reasons for WL inactivity is essential to improve WL management and post-transplant outcomes.

Keywords: inactivity; kidney; survival; transplant; wait-list.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Survival*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Waiting Lists*