Kidney transplantation in young children: Should there be a minimum age?

A. Humar, L. Arrazola, M. Mauer, A. J. Matas, J. S. Najarian

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49 Scopus citations


The optimal age for transplantation in children with end-stage renal disease remains controversial. Many centers have adopted a policy of waiting until such children reach a certain minimum age or weight, maintaining them on chronic dialysis until then. Their policy is based on historical data showing inferior graft survival in very young children. We feel that with proper donor selection and recipient care, comparable results can be achieved in very young age groups. We herein present our results with kidney transplantation in children <1 year old. Between 1 January 1984 and 31 December 1999, we performed 321 kidney transplants in children ≤13 years at the University of Minnesota. We analyzed our results in three age groups: <1 year (n=30), 1 through 4 years (n=122), and 5 through 13 years (n=169). We found no significant differences in patient or graft survival rates between the three groups. Almost all our infant (<1 year) recipients underwent primary transplants from living donors (LDs). However, even when we compared results only of primary LD transplants between the three groups, we found no significant differences. To date, all our infant recipients are alive and well, 24 (80%) with a functioning original graft. Causes of the 6 graft losses were chronic rejection (n=3), vascular thrombosis (n=2), and recurrent disease (n=1). Infants had significantly lower incidences of acute and chronic rejection compared with older recipients, but a tendency to higher incidences of delayed graft function and vascular thrombosis. Infants had significant increases in weight post transplant: the mean standard deviation score rose from -2.8 pre transplant to -0.2 by age 5 years and to +1.8 by age 10 years. The improvement in height was less marked: the mean standard deviation rose from -3.2 pre transplant to -1.6 by age 5 years and to -1.4 by age 10 years. Kidney transplant results in very young children can be comparable to those in older children. There need be no minimum age for performing a kidney transplant. The timing of the transplant should not be based on age or size alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-945
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001


  • Infants
  • Kidney transplants
  • Minimum age


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