Trends in Coronary Artery Disease Screening before Kidney Transplantation

Kidney360. 2021 Dec 9;3(3):516-523. doi: 10.34067/KID.0005282021. eCollection 2022 Mar 31.


Background: Coronary artery disease (CAD) screening in asymptomatic kidney transplant candidates is widespread but not well supported by contemporary cardiology literature. In this study we describe temporal trends in CAD screening before kidney transplant in the United States.

Methods: Using the United States Renal Data System, we examined Medicare-insured adults who received a first kidney transplant from 2000 through 2015. We stratified analysis on the basis of whether the patient's comorbidity burden met guideline definitions of high risk for CAD. We examined temporal trends in nonurgent CAD tests within the year before transplant and the composite of death and nonfatal myocardial infarction in the 30 days after transplant.

Results: Of 94,832 kidney transplant recipients, 37,139 (39%) underwent at least one nonurgent CAD test in the 1 year before transplant. From 2000 to 2015, the transplant program waitlist volume had increased as transplant volume stayed constant, whereas patients in the later eras had a slightly higher comorbidity burden (older, longer dialysis vintage, and a higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus and CAD). The likelihood of CAD test in the year before transplant increased from 2000 through 2003 and remained relatively stable thereafter. When stratified by CAD risk status, test rates decreased modestly in patients who were high risk but remained constant in patients who were low risk after 2008. Death or nonfatal myocardial infarction within 30 days after transplant decreased from 3% in 2000 to 2% in 2015. Nuclear perfusion scan was the most frequent modality of testing throughout the examined time periods.

Conclusions: CAD testing rates before kidney transplantation have remained constant from 2000 through 2015, despite widespread changes in cardiology guidelines and practice.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; coronary artery disease; epidemiology and outcomes; mass screening; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Medicare
  • Myocardial Infarction* / diagnosis
  • Renal Dialysis
  • United States / epidemiology