The role of procurement biopsies in acceptance decisions for kidneys retrieved for transplant

Bertram L. Kasiske, Darren E. Stewart, Bipin R. Bista, Nicholas Salkowski, Jon J. Snyder, Ajay K. Israni, Gretchen S. Crary, John D. Rosendale, Arthur J. Matas, Francis L. Delmonico

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83 Scopus citations


Background and objectives There is a shortage of kidneys for transplant, and many patients on the deceased donor kidney transplant waiting list would likely benefit from kidneys that are currently being discarded. In the United States, the most common reason given for discarding kidneys retrieved for transplant is procurement biopsy results. This study aimed to compare biopsy results from discarded kidneys with discard attributed to biopsy findings, with biopsy results from comparable kidneys that were successfully transplanted. Design, setting, participants, & measurements In this retrospective, observational, case-control study, biopsy reports were examined from 83 kidneys discarded in 2010 due to biopsy findings (cases), 83 contralateral transplanted kidneys fromthe same donor (contralateral controls), and 83 deceased donors randomlymatched to cases by donor risk profile (randomlymatched controls). Asecond procurement biopsywas obtained in 64 of 332 kidneys (19.3%). Results The quality of biopsy reports was low, with amounts of tubular atrophy, interstitial inflammation, arteriolar hyalinosis, and acute tubular necrosis often not indicated; 69% were wedge biopsies and 94% used frozen tissue. The correlation between first and second procurement biopsies was poor; only 25% of the variability (R2) in glomerulosclerosis was explained by biopsies being from the same kidney. The percentages of glomerulosclerosis overlapped substantially between cases, contralateral controls, and randomly matched controls: 17.1%615.3%, 9.0%66.6%, and 5.0%65.9%, respectively. Of all biopsy findings, only glomerulosclerosis. 20%was independently correlatedwith discard (cases versus contralateral controls; odds ratio, 15.09; 95% confidence interval, 2.47 to 92.41; P=0.003), suggesting that only this biopsy result was used in acceptance decisions. One-year graft survival was 79.5% and 90.7% in contralateral and randomly matched controls, respectively, versus 91.6% among all deceased donor transplants in the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. Conclusions Routine use of biopsies could lead to unnecessary kidney discards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-571
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 7 2014

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Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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