Background: The simplicity and success of cold storage of cadaveric kidneys have led to the infrequent use of pulsatile perfusion. However, there may be advantages to pulsatile perfusion for less optimal donors.
Methods: United Network for Organ Sharing data were analyzed retrospectively to determine the impact of pulsatile perfusion on initial function and 1-year graft survival. The analysis included 60,827 cadaveric kidney transplants performed between 1988 and 1995. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine the effect of preservation method on both early kidney function (need for first-week dialysis after transplant) and 1-year graft survival, after adjusting for other known risk factors.
Results: The preservation method exhibited a highly significant impact on the need for first-week dialysis. Ice-preserved kidneys were associated with a 2.13-fold increase in the odds of requiring dialysis compared with perfused kidneys. If the donor age was > or =55 years, the odds were 2.33-fold higher for ice-preserved as compared with perfused. If cold ischemic time was > or =24 hr, there was a 2.19-fold increase in the odds of dialysis for ice-preserved kidneys. African-American recipients of cold-stored kidneys had a 2.29-fold greater odds of first-week dialysis.
Conclusions: Based on these findings, it was estimated that the increased cost of perfusing kidneys from all donors > or =55 years of age would be balanced by the decreased need for posttransplant dialysis if the cost related to dialysis were $14,700 or greater per patient. These facts, coupled with the ability to assess an older donor kidney before transplant, could make pulsatile perfusion for the expanded donor financially as well as medically desirable.