Background: Organ shortage persists despite a high rate of donation after circulatory death (DCD) in the Netherlands. The median waiting time for a deceased donor kidney in 2013 was 3.5 years. Most DCD kidneys are from controlled DCD (cDCD; Maastricht category III). Experience with uncontrolled donors after cardiac death (uDCD), that is, donors with an unexpected and irreversible cardiac arrest (Maastricht categories I and II), is increasing; and its effect on transplant outcomes needs evaluation.
Methods: We used the Dutch Organ Transplantation Registry to include recipients (≥18 years old) from all Dutch centers who received transplants from 2002 to 2012 with a first DCD kidney. We compared transplant outcome in uDCD (n = 97) and cDCD (n = 1441).
Results: Primary nonfunction in uDCD was higher than in the cDCD (19.6% vs 9.6%, P < 0.001, respectively). Delayed graft function was also higher in uDCD than in cDCD, but not significantly (73.7% vs 63.3%, P = .074, respectively). If censored for primary nonfunction, estimated glomerular filtration rates after 1 year and 5 years were comparable between uDCD and cDCD (1 year: uDCD, 44.3 (23.4) mL/min/m and cDCD, 45.8 (24.1) mL/min/m; P = 0.621; 5 years: uDCD, 49.1 (25.6) mL/min/m and cDCD, 47.7 (21.7) mL/min/m; P = 0.686). The differences in primary nonfunction between kidneys from uDCD and cDCD were explained by differences in the first warm ischemic period, cold ischemic time, and donor age.
Conclusions: We conclude that uDCD kidneys have potential for excellent function and can constitute a valuable extension of the donor pool. However, further efforts are necessary to address the high rate of primary nonfunction.