Time trends in preemptive kidney transplantation in Europe: an era registry study

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2024 May 9:gfae105. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfae105. Online ahead of print.


Background: Preemptive kidney transplantation has better outcomes when compared to transplantation after dialysis. We aimed to examine trends in preemptive kidney transplantation between 2000 and 2019 in Europe and to provide an overview of associated policies, barriers and initiatives.

Methods: Adult patients from 12 European countries who received a preemptive kidney transplant were included. The representatives of the registries providing these data were questioned on the policies, barriers and initiatives around preemptive kidney transplantation.

Results: Between 2000 and 2019, 20 251 adults underwent preemptive kidney transplantation (11 169 from living donors, 8937 from deceased donors). The proportion of first kidney transplantations that were preemptive more than doubled from 7% in 2000 to 18% in 2019, reflecting a similar relative increase for living donor kidney recipients (from 21% to 43%) and deceased donor kidney recipients (from 4% to 11%). Large international differences were found. The increase in preemptive kidney transplantation was observed across all age, sex and primary renal disease groups. Countries had similar criteria for preemptive waitlisting. Barriers mentioned included donor shortage, late referral to the transplant center and long donor or recipient work-up. Suggested initiatives included raising awareness on the possibility of preemptive kidney transplantation, earlier start and shorter work-up time for recipient and living donor.

Conclusions: Over the last two decades the proportion of patients receiving a first kidney transplant preemptively has more than doubled, reflecting a similar relative increase for living and deceased donor kidney recipients.

Keywords: Europe; barriers; preemptive kidney transplantation; trends.