Bacteremia in kidney transplant recipients: Burden, causes, and consequences

Clin Transplant. 2019 Mar;33(3):e13479. doi: 10.1111/ctr.13479. Epub 2019 Feb 8.


Bacteremia is an important complication after kidney transplantation. We examined bacteremia and its outcomes in a large cohort of kidney transplant recipients. Kidney transplants from 1-Jul-2004 to 1-Dec-2014 at the Toronto General Hospital were eligible for study inclusion. Bacteremia was defined as two blood culture positives for common skin contaminants or one blood culture positive for other organisms. The cumulative incidence of first bacteremia was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and risk factors were examined in a Cox proportional hazards model. The risk of graft failure or death was assessed in a time-dependent Cox model. Over follow-up, 154 of 1333 patients had at least one bacteremia episode. The cumulative incidence of first bacteremia was 6.8% (6 months) and 11.9% (5 years). Risk factors included recipient diabetes mellitus, time on dialysis, dialysis modality, delayed graft function, donor age, and donor eGFR. Bacteremia increased the risk of total graft failure (hazard ratio 2.11 [95% CI: 1.50, 2.96]), death-censored graft failure (1.73 [0.99, 3.02]), and death with graft function (2.52 [1.63, 3.89]). In conclusion, bacteremia is common after kidney transplantation and impacts both graft and patient survival. Identifying high-risk patients for targeted preventive strategies may reduce the burden and adverse consequences of this important complication.

Keywords: Kidney transplantation; bacteremia; incidence; outcomes; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Bacteremia / etiology
  • Bacteremia / pathology
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology*
  • Graft Rejection / etiology
  • Graft Rejection / pathology
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors