Optimizing Outcomes in Pediatric Renal Transplantation Through the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program

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Kidney paired donation (KPD) programs offer the opportunity to enable living kidney donation when immunological and other barriers prevent safe directed donation. Children are likely to require multiple transplants during their lifetime; therefore, high-level histocompatibility and organ quality matching are key priorities. Details are given for a cohort of seven pediatric renal transplantations performed through the Australian Kidney Exchange (AKX), including barriers to alternative transplantation and outcomes after KPD. Reasons for entering the KPD program were preformed donor-specific antibodies to their registered donor in five cases, ABO mismatch, and avoidance of the risk of exposure to hepatitis B virus. Four recipients were highly sensitized. All patients received transplants with organs of lower immunological risk compared with their registered donors. HLA eplet mismatch scores were calculated for donor–recipient pairs; three patients had improved eplet mismatch load with AKX donor compared with their registered donor. All grafts are functioning, with a mean estimated glomerular filtration rate of 77 mL/min/1.73 m2 (range 46–94 mL) and a follow-up range of 8–54 months, and no patient experienced clinical or histological rejection. KPD is a viable strategy to overcome many barriers to living donation for pediatric patients who have an otherwise suitable donor and provides an opportunity to minimize immunological risks.

This report describes a cohort of pediatric recipients transplanted through the Australian Kidney Exchange and explores how kidney paired donation programs facilitate transplantation and optimize outcomes for children with end-stage kidney disease.

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