A third kidney transplant: Cost-effective treatment for end-stage renal disease?

Arthur J. Matas, Kristen J. Gillingham, William D. Payne, David L. Dunn, Rainer W G Gruessner, David E R Sutherland, Walter Schmidt, John S. Najarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Given the organ donor shortage, some question whether a third kidney transplant can be justified. We studied the outcome of 51 third transplants (mean age 28 ± 2 yr) done between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1994. We compared hospital stay (mean ± S.E.), cost, readmissions, readmission days, and outcome of third (vs. first and second) transplants. We found that patient survival for third transplants was equivalent to first and second transplants; graft survival was not as good. However, when third transplant recipients with recurrent disease (specifically, hemolytic uremic syndrome and focal sclerosis) were excluded from our analysis, we found no difference in 5-yr graft survival (vs. first or second transplant recipients). Of the 51 third transplant recipients, 41 had a cadaver donor transplant. Third cadaver transplant recipients tended to have a longer hospital stay (p = NS) than first cadaver transplant recipients but had no more readmissions or readmission days than first or second cadaver transplant recipients. Employment data are available for 28 third transplant recipients; 16 (57%) are currently working or going to school. Of the 21 recipients who responded to quality of life questionnaires, 17 (81%) reported being healthy and all 21 (100%) said transplantation was not a drawback to their health. We conclude that third transplants should be considered for selected patients with renal failure whose first or second transplants have failed. Such patients can often be successfully transplanted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-520
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number6 I
StatePublished - Dec 1996


  • Cost effectiveness
  • Kidney transplantation


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