How important is the duration of the brain death period for the outcome in kidney transplantation?

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SummaryIn kidney transplantation, graft survival using grafts from donation after brain death (DBD) donors is inferior to results after living donation. However, little is known about the effect of the duration of brain death (BDdur) on outcome after transplantation. This is a retrospective Organ Procurement and Transplant Network analysis using kidney donor and recipient data from 1994 to 2006. BDdur was calculated as the period between brain death declaration and aortic cross clamp. Effects of BDdur on delayed graft function (DGF), acute rejection and graft failure were calculated using binary logistic regression and Cox regression models. Median BDdur was 23.8 h. Longer BDdur decreased the risk for DGF and 1- and 3-year graft failure slightly, but not for acute rejection. In multivariate analysis, donor age and acute rejection were confounders. However, in a multivariate subgroup analysis of donors aged ≤55 years BDdur independently predicted DGF; each hour of BDdur decreasing the risk of DGF with 0.4% (P = 0.008). Longer BDdur is not detrimental and in fact slightly beneficial in DBD donors ≤55 years of age, reducing the chance of DGF in the recipient. This finding may have an impact on organ retrieval procedures, as no rush but rather an improved donor management prior to retrieval will benefit donor kidney viability.

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