Ongoing higher infection rate in ABO-incompatible kidney transplant recipient: is it a serious problem? A single-center experience

Ann Surg Treat Res. 2016 Jul;91(1):37-44. doi: 10.4174/astr.2016.91.1.37. Epub 2016 Jun 30.


Purpose: Additional clinical experience and knowledge regarding the barrier to transplantation of ABO blood type incompatibility could reduce the higher rate of infectious complications in ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation.

Methods: A total of 79 ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation (ABOiKT) patients were compared with 260 ABO-compatible kidney transplantation (ABOcKT) patients for basic clinical characteristics, infectious complications, rejection episodes, and graft survival.

Results: There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics, rejection rates, or graft survival between the ABOiKT and ABOcKT patients. No significant difference in the infection rate was shown for cytomegalovirus (26.6% vs. 30.0%; P = 0.672), BK virus (19.0% vs. 21.5%; P = 0.752), herpes disease (10.1% vs. 5.0%; P = 0.082), pneumonia (5.3% vs. 3.8%; P = 0.746), or urinary tract infection (8.9% vs. 10.0%; P > 0.999). Female sex (hazard ratio [HR], 2.20; P = 0.003), advanced age (≥60 years) (HR, 2.5; P = 0.019), history of rejection episodes (HR, 2.28; P = 0.016), and history of surgical complications (HR, 4.64; P = 0.018) were significant risk factors for infection. ABO incompatibility demonstrated a tendency toward higher infection risk without statistical significance (HR, 1.74; P = 0.056).

Conclusion: In spite of immunosuppressant protocol modification, the rate of infectious complications following ABOiKT is still higher than with ABOcKT when a modified desensitization protocol is used. However, this was not sufficient to avoid ABOiKT.

Keywords: ABO incompatibility; Infection; Kidney transplantation.