Challenges in the management of the kidney allograft: from decline to failure: conclusions from a Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Controversies Conference

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In March 2022, Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) held a virtual Controversies Conference to address the important but rarely examined phase during which the kidney transplant is failing or has failed. In addition to discussing the definition of a failing allograft, 4 broad areas were considered in the context of a declining functioning graft: prognosis and kidney failure trajectory; immunosuppression strategies; management of medical and psychological complications, and patient factors; and choice of kidney replacement therapy or supportive care following graft loss. Identifying and paying special attention to individuals with failing allografts was felt to be important in order to prepare patients psychologically, manage immunosuppression, address complications, prepare for dialysis and/or retransplantation, and transition to supportive care. Accurate prognostication tools, although not yet widely available, were embraced as necessary to define allograft survival trajectories and the likelihood of allograft failure. The decision of whether to withdraw or continue immunosuppression after allograft failure was deemed to be based most appropriately on risk–benefit analysis and likelihood of retransplantation within a few months. Psychological preparation and support was identified as a critical factor in patient adjustment to graft failure, as was early communication. Several models of care were noted that enabled a medically supportive transition back to dialysis or retransplantation. Emphasis was placed on the importance of dialysis-access readiness before initiation of dialysis, in order to avoid use of central venous catheters. The centrality of the patient to all management decisions and discussions was deemed to be paramount. Patient “activation,” which can be defined as engaged agency, was seen as the most effective way to achieve success. Unresolved controversies, gaps in knowledge, and areas for research were also stressed in the conference deliberations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1091
Number of pages16
JournalKidney international
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 KDIGO: Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes


  • dialysis
  • failing/failed graft
  • immunosuppression
  • medical complications
  • psychological complications
  • retransplantation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article


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