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HomeHealth ConditionsKidney DisordersCan kidney transplants with injured donor kidneys still be successful?

Can kidney transplants with injured donor kidneys still be successful?

Researchers from the United States looked back at the kidney transplant failure rates in people who had been given an injured donor kidney.

The ideal check-list for a new kidney would probably go something along the lines of “immediately available, in perfect functioning order”. The reality, however, is far from this. The availability of a kidney for transplant is so low that almost 25% of the people on the list expecting a kidney either die or become too frail to receive one whilst waiting. One of the reasons for low availability is that kidneys that have been offered are subsequently discarded because doctors believe they will not function well in the recipient.

Some patients have reported doing well after receiving injured donor kidneys

A team of researchers from different centres throughout the United States looked at how well kidneys with acute kidney injury worked in recipients over a three-year period. Acute kidney injury is a sudden episode of kidney injury or kidney failure. It tends to occur in older patients who are already in hospital. As a result of doctors’ concerns over how well a kidney transplant will work using one of these kidneys, 30% of potential donor kidneys with this condition are not used.

However, recent research has shown that six months following a kidney transplant with an acute kidney injury, the patient has been doing well. The purpose of the new study was to see if patients are still doing well over a longer period, after four years from receiving the transplant, and also to look at any factors that may alter this. The results were published in Kidney International.

Researchers looked at the results of a kidney transplant from 585 deceased donors with acute kidney injury. The results were compared with kidney transplant carried out in 1845 patients without acute kidney injury. They found that the kidneys with acute kidney injury did as well as those without acute kidney injury. In their study, there were no other factors that altered how well the kidneys did.

Study urges medical community to consider using kidneys from deceased donors who had acute kidney injury

As a result of these findings, the researchers urge the community of medical professional who carry out kidney transplant surgery to consider using kidneys with acute kidney injury from deceased donors. This is particularly so in light of the current shortage of kidneys for transplant.

Written by Nicola Cribb, VetMB DVSc Dip.ACVS


  1. Hall I, Akalin E, Bromberg J, et al. Deceased-donor acute kidney injury is not associated with kidney allograft failure. Kidney Int. 2018. doi:10.1016/j.kint.2018.08.047.
  2. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/AcuteKidneyInjury. Last accessed January 18, 2019.
Nicola Cribb
Nicola Cribb
Nicola obtained her Veterinary and Master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge, UK, and Doctor of Veterinary Science from the University of Guelph, Canada. She is board-certified in surgery and has research interests in minimally-invasive surgery. She has worked in a clinical setting, as well as research and teaching disciplines for the past 16 years at the University of Guelph, where she is currently Adjunct Faculty. She is a freelance medical writer and reviews, authors, and co-authors publications and reviews in scientific journals and books.


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