Uncontrolled donation after cardiac death kidney transplantation: Opportunity to expand the donor pool?

Am J Surg. 2023 Jun;225(6):1102-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2022.12.014. Epub 2022 Dec 20.


Background: Compared to controlled donation after cardiac death (cDCD), uncontrolled DCD (uDCD) kidney transplantation remains an underutilized resource in the United States. However, it is unclear whether long-term allograft outcomes following uDCD are inferior to that of cDCD kidney transplantation.

Methods: From January 1995 to January 2018, the OPTN/UNOS database was queried to discover all reported cases of uDCD and cDCD kidney transplantation. Primary non-function, delayed graft function, ten-year graft and patient survival were compared among uDCD and cDCD patients.

Results: Rates of primary non-function (4.0% [uDCD] vs. 1.8% [cDCD], P < 0.001) and delayed graft function (51.1% [uDCD] vs. 41.7% [cDCD], P < 0.001) were higher following uDCD transplant. However, ten-year graft survival (47.5% [uDCD] vs. 48.4% [cDCD], P = 0.21) and patient survival were similar to cDCD transplantation (59.4% [uDCD] vs. 59.2% [cDCD], P = 0.32).

Conclusion: Although initial allograft outcomes are inferior following uDCD, long-term durability of uDCD kidney allografts is on par to cDCD transplantation. Kidney allografts derived by uDCD may be a viable and durable option to increase the donor pool.

Keywords: Donation after cardiac death; Kidney transplantation; Organ donation; The organ procurement and transplantation network; The united network for organ sharing.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Death
  • Death
  • Delayed Graft Function
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*