Kidney Transplantation and Cardiovascular Events Among Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease Due to Lupus Nephritis: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2021 Jun 13;10.1002/acr.24725. doi: 10.1002/acr.24725. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To assess the potential impact of kidney transplantation on cardiovascular (CV) events among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) due to lupus nephritis (LN).

Methods: In a nationwide cohort study, we identified all patients with LN-ESRD enrolled in the US Renal Data System who were waitlisted for a kidney transplant and enrolled in Medicare between January, 2000 and December, 2016. The primary outcome was incident CV events, including myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic cerebrovascular accident (CVA). We used time-dependent Cox regression to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) of these outcomes associated with kidney transplant as a time-varying exposure, adjusting for sex, age, race, ethnicity, geographic region, year of ESRD onset, first ESRD treatment modality (e.g., hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis), Charlson Comorbidity Index score, and history of prior organ transplants.

Results: Of 5,963 waitlisted patients with LN-ESRD, 3,209 (54%) had a kidney transplant during the study period. The majority were female (82%), and African American patients represented 48% of waitlisted patients and 43% of transplanted patients. Kidney transplantation was associated with a lower risk of incident CV events (adjusted HR 0.31 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.18-0.53]) as well as lower risks of MI and CVA (adjusted HRs 0.13 [95% CI 0.08-0.34] and 0.30 [95% CI 0.16-0.54], respectively).

Conclusion: Kidney transplantation was associated with a reduced risk of CV events, including MI and CVA, in patients with LN-ESRD. Our findings highlight the importance of identifying barriers to transplantation in this population, as improved access could reduce CV morbidity.