Recipient obesity and outcomes after kidney transplantation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2015 Aug;30(8):1403-11. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfv214. Epub 2015 Jun 4.


Background: The prevalence of obesity is increasing globally and is associated with chronic kidney disease and premature mortality. However, the impact of recipient obesity on kidney transplant outcomes remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the association between recipient obesity and mortality, death-censored graft loss and delayed graft function (DGF) following kidney transplantation.

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted using Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library. Observational studies or randomized controlled trials investigating the association between recipient obesity at transplantation and mortality, death-censored graft loss and DGF were included. Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of ≥30 kg/m(2). Obese recipients were compared with those with a normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)). Pooled estimates of hazard ratios (HRs) for patient mortality or death-censored graft loss and odds ratios (ORs) for DGF were calculated.

Results: Seventeen studies including 138 081 patients were analysed. After adjustment, there was no significant difference in mortality risk in obese recipients [HR = 1.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.90-1.70, studies = 5, n = 83 416]. However, obesity was associated with an increased risk of death-censored graft loss (HR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.01-1.12, studies = 5, n = 83 416) and an increased likelihood of DGF (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.39-2.03, studies = 4, n = 28 847).

Conclusions: Despite having a much higher likelihood of DGF, obese transplant recipients have only a slightly increased risk of graft loss and experience similar survival to recipients with normal BMI.

Keywords: graft survival; kidney transplantation; mortality; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Delayed Graft Function / etiology
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Transplant Recipients*
  • Treatment Outcome