Should Pre-Transplant Hemoglobin A1c Be Used to Predict Post-Transplant Compliance in End-Stage Renal Disease Patients Undergoing Kidney Transplantation?

Ann Transplant. 2020 Jun 26;25:e924061. doi: 10.12659/AOT.924061.


BACKGROUND Patient compliance with immunosuppressive therapy after transplant has impacts on both graft and patient outcomes. For diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients who are undergoing evaluation for kidney transplantation in our program, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level of >10% is used as a flag that the patient may be at risk for noncompliance and that more comprehensive psychosocial screening is needed prior to transplant. We evaluated the association between pre-transplant HbA1c level and post-transplant compliance, as no study to date has looked at this in the transplant population. MATERIAL AND METHODS The charts of 392 patients who received a kidney transplant at a single institution between July 2008 and June 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. One hundred and sixty-five diabetic patients who received a kidney transplant alone were included in the final analysis. Our predictive variable was HbA1c level greater than 7.7% based on previous reports in the diabetic population. Outcome measures were graft survival, rejection episodes, unexplained low immunosuppressant levels, and documented noncompliance. RESULTS There were no statistically significant differences between the HbA1c groups of ≤7.7% and >7.7% in outcomes of failed grafts (22.0% and 17.8%, p=0.2), rejection episodes (15.0% and 6.7%, p=0.3), unexplained low immunosuppressant level (46.6% and 37.9%, p=0.3), and documented noncompliance (25.0% and 16.7%, p=0.4). CONCLUSIONS In diabetic ESRD patients selected for renal transplantation, elevated pre-transplant HbA1c levels, defined as HbA1c >7.7%, are not predictive of post-transplant medication compliance. We advocate that this group of patients should not be denied transplant solely on their elevated pre-transplant HbA1c.