To investigate changes in pediatric kidney transplant outcomes over time and potential variations in these changes between the early and late posttransplant periods and across subgroups based on recipient, donor, and transplant characteristics.
Using multiple logistic regression and multivariable Cox models, graft and patient outcomes were analyzed in 17 446 pediatric kidney-only transplants performed in the United States between 1987 and 2012.
Ten-year patient and graft survival rates were 90.5% and 60.2%, respectively, after transplantation in 2001, compared with 77.6% and 46.8% after transplantation in 1987. Primary nonfunction and delayed graft function occurred in 3.3% and 5.3%, respectively, of transplants performed in 2011, compared with 15.4% and 19.7% of those performed in 1987. Adjusted for recipient, donor, and transplant characteristics, these improvements corresponded to a 5% decreased hazard of graft loss, 5% decreased hazard of death, 10% decreased odds of primary nonfunction, and 5% decreased odds of delayed graft function with each more recent year of transplantation. Graft survival improvements were lower in adolescent and female recipients, those receiving pretransplant dialysis, and those with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Patient survival improvements were higher in those with elevated peak panel reactive antibody. Both patient and graft survival improvements were most pronounced in the first posttransplant year.
Outcomes after pediatric kidney transplantation have improved dramatically over time for all recipient subgroups, especially for highly sensitized recipients. Most improvement in graft and patient survival has come in the first year after transplantation, highlighting the need for continued progress in long-term outcomes.