Hemodialysis Quality Metrics in the First Year Following a Failed Kidney Transplant

Am J Nephrol. 2019;50(3):161-167. doi: 10.1159/000501605. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Background: Failure of a previously transplanted kidney is a common cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and represents 5% of incident dialysis patients in the United States. Patients with native kidney failure ESRD (Nat-ESRD) who receive predialysis care from a nephrologist have better outcomes in the first 12 months on dialysis than those who don't. Because many patients with a failed kidney transplant ESRD (Tx-ESRD) receive care from nephrologists, they would also be expected to have good dialysis outcomes. We sought to compare the quality metrics of Tx-ESRD patients and Nat-ESRD patients during the first 12 months of hemodialysis.

Methods: We used data from the United States Renal Data System to identify hemodialysis patients who began treatment between May 2012 and December 2013 and who received nephrology care prior to starting hemodialysis. Quality metrics by quarter for the first 12 months of treatment were dichotomized according to practice guidelines to determine the percentage of patients in each quarter who met quality of care goals.

Results: Compared to Nat-ESRD (n = 96,063) patients, Tx-ESRD (n = 5,528) patients had 10-19% lower rates of at goal hemoglobin levels, 6-12% lower rates of at goal serum phosphorus, and 3-11% lower rates of at goal albumin levels. Compared to Nat-ESRD patients, -Tx-ESRD patients had a 6% higher rate of fistula use in the first quarter but a 3-7% lower rate in subsequent quarters.

Conclusions: Tx-ESRD patients have worse quality metrics related to anemia, phosphorus, albumin, and vascular access compared to Nat-ESRD patients. Nephrology care for patients with Tx-ESRD should be improved to address these quality metrics gaps.

Keywords: Hemodialysis; Quality metrics; Transplant failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrology / statistics & numerical data
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Registries
  • Renal Dialysis / standards*
  • Risk
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Hemoglobins
  • Phosphorus