Kidney retransplants after initial graft loss to vascular thrombosis

Abhinav Humar, Nigel Key, Thiagarajan Ramcharan, William D Payne, David Er Sutherland, Arthur J Matas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Vascular thrombosis early after a kidney transplant is an infrequent but devastating complication. Often, no cause is found. These recipients are generally felt to be good candidates for a retransplant. However, their ideal care at the time of the retransplant and their outcomes have not been well documented. We studied outcomes in 16 retransplant recipients who had lost their first graft early posttransplant ( < 1 month) to vascular thrombosis. Methods: Of 2003 kidney transplants between 1 January 1984 and 30 September 1998, we identified 32 recipients who had lost their first graft early posttransplant to vascular thrombosis. Of these 32 recipients, 16 were subsequently retransplanted and detailed chart reviews were done. Results: Of the 16 retransplant recipients, 12 lost their first graft to renal vein thrombosis and 4 to renal artery thrombosis. Thrombosis generally occurred early (mean, 3.6 d). Five recipients underwent a complete hematologic workup to rule out a thrombophilic disorder before their retransplant: 4 had a positive result (presence of antiphospholipid antibodies, n = 3; increased homocysteine levels, n = 1). These 4 recipients, along with 1 other recipient who had a strong family history of thrombosis, underwent thrombosis prophylaxis at the time of their retransplant. Prophylaxis consisted of low-dose heparin for the first 3-5 d posttransplant, followed by acetylsalicylic acid or Coumadin. Of the 16 retransplant recipients, none developed thrombosis. Of the 5 who underwent thrombosis prophylaxis, none had significant bleeding complications. At a mean follow-up of 5.4 yr, 10 (63%) recipients have functioning grafts. Causes of graft loss in the remaining 6 recipients were death with function (n = 5, 31%) and acute rejection (n = 1, 6%). Graft and patient survival rates after these 16 retransplants were equivalent to results after primary transplants. The incidence of acute and chronic rejection was also no different (p = ns). Conclusion: Vascular thrombosis in the absence of obvious technical factors should prompt a workup for a thrombophilic disorder before a retransplant. Recipients with an identified disorder should undergo prophylaxis at the time of the retransplant. Results in these retransplant recipients are equivalent to those seen in primary transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-10
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Kidney transplant
  • Thrombophila
  • Vascular thrombosis


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