Longest bipolar length of the kidney graft is routinely measured for ultrasonographic assessment of graft size (GS), although the value of the graft length remains unclear.Methods
In a single-center, observational study involving 319 deceased-donor kidney transplant recipients, we assessed variations in absolute and adjusted GS (corrected for body surface area) between 1 and 12 months after transplantation ([INCREMENT]GS1m→12m). We tested whether variations in GS during the first year were predictive of the composite outcome of a reduction of 50% or more in the estimated glomerular filtration rate or end-stage graft failure.Results
At 1 year after transplantation, 121 patients (38%) had a decrease in GS ([INCREMENT]GS1m→12m <0), and 198 patients (62%) had an increase in GS ([INCREMENT]GS1m→12m ≥0). After a median follow-up of 53 months, 41 patients with a decrease in GS reached the composite outcome as compared with 12 patients with an increase in GS (34% and 6%, respectively; P < 0.001). Areas under the receiver operating characteristics curves of absolute and adjusted [INCREMENT]GS1m→12m for composite outcome were 0.81 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.74-0.88) and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.70-0.86), respectively. In multivariate analysis, the risk of the composite outcome was significantly higher among patients with a decrease in GS during the first year after transplantation (hazard ratio, 4.55; 95% CI, 2.35-8.81; P < 0.001).Conclusions
A decrease in kidney GS during the first year after transplantation, as compared with an increase in GS, is a powerful predictor of subsequent graft dysfunction or end-stage graft failure.