Should children receive a kidney transplant before 2 years of age?

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Background: The optimal age of kidney transplantation for infants and toddlers with kidney failure is unclear. We aimed to evaluate the patient survival associated with kidney transplantation before 2 years of age versus remaining on the waitlist until ≥2 years. Method: We used the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients to identify all children added to the deceased-donor waitlist before 2 years of age between 1/1/2000 and 4/30/2020. For each case aged <2 years at transplant, we created a control group comprising all candidates on the waitlist on the case's transplant date. Patient survival was evaluated using sequential Cox regression. Dialysis-free time was defined as graft survival time for cases and the sum of dialysis-free time on the waitlist and graft survival time for controls. Results: We observed similar patient survival for posttransplant periods 0–3 and 4–12 months but higher survival for period >12 months for <2-year decreased-donor recipients (aHR: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.13–0.78; p =.01) compared with controls. Similarly, patient survival was higher for <2-year living-donor recipients for posttransplant period >12 months (aHR: 0.21; 95% CI: 0.06–0.73; p =.01). The 5-year dialysis-free survival was higher for <2-year deceased- (difference: 0.59 years; 95% CI: 0.23–0.93) and living-donor (difference: 1.84 years; 95% CI: 1.31–2.25) recipients. Conclusion: Kidney transplantation in children <2 years of age is associated with improved patient survival and reduced dialysis exposure compared with remaining on the waitlist until ≥2 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14631
JournalPediatric transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Pediatric Transplantation published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • infant
  • outcomes
  • pediatric kidney transplant
  • survival
  • toddlers


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