Renal Ischemia and Function After Partial Nephrectomy: A Collaborative Review of the Literature

Eur Urol. 2015 Jul;68(1):61-74. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2015.01.025. Epub 2015 Feb 20.


Context: Partial nephrectomy (PN) is the current gold standard treatment for small localized renal tumors.; however, the impact of duration and type of intraoperative ischemia on renal function (RF) after PN is a subject of significant debate.

Objective: To review the current evidence on the relationship of intraoperative ischemia and RF after PN.

Evidence acquisition: A review of English-language publications on renal ischemia and RF after PN was performed from 2005 to 2014 using the Medline, Embase, and Web of Science databases. Ninety-one articles were selected with the consensus of all authors and analyzed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses criteria.

Evidence synthesis: The vast majority of reviewed studies were retrospective, nonrandomized observations. Based on the current literature, RF recovery after PN is strongly associated with preoperative RF and the amount of healthy kidney parenchyma preserved. Warm ischemia time (WIT) is modifiable and prolonged warm ischemia is significantly associated with adverse postoperative RF. Available data suggest a benefit of keeping WIT <25min, although the level of evidence to support this threshold is limited. Cold ischemia safely facilitates longer durations of ischemia. Surgical techniques that minimize or avoid global ischemia may be associated with improved RF outcomes.

Conclusions: Although RF recovery after PN is strongly associated with quality and quantity of preserved kidney, efforts should be made to limit prolonged WIT. Cold ischemia should be preferred when longer ischemia is expected, especially in presence of imperative indications for PN. Additional research with higher levels of evidence is needed to clarify the optimal use of renal ischemia during PN.

Patient summary: In this review of the literature, we looked at predictors of renal function after surgical resection of renal tumors. There is a strong association between the quality and quantity of renal tissue that is preserved after surgery and long-term renal function. The time of interruption of renal blood flow during surgery is an important, modifiable predictor of postoperative renal function.

Keywords: Ischemia; Nephron-sparing surgery; Partial nephrectomy; Renal cell carcinoma; Renal function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery*
  • Cold Ischemia / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Nephrons*
  • Organ Sparing Treatments
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Warm Ischemia / statistics & numerical data*