Nav: Home

Mayo Clinic study suggests acute injured kidneys can be considered for transplant

March 31, 2015

PHOENIX -- The shortage of kidneys needed for organ transplantation in the U.S. can be alleviated in part by using select kidneys with Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), resulting in safe and positive outcomes, according to research conducted at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Results of the single-site study, led by Raymond Heilman, M.D., Chair of the Division of Nephrology, suggest that acutely injured kidneys from deceased donors can be considered for transplantation -- reconsidering previous thinking that such kidneys should be discarded.

Kidneys can result in acute injury when the organ ceases to function, generally caused by heavy blood loss, severe infection, extreme dehydration and some medications. At the same time, according to Dr. Heilman, "The kidney has a remarkable ability to regenerate parts of the organ that weren't working."

The Mayo research examined the results of 162 kidney transplants, using kidneys from deceased donors with AKI between June 2004 and October 2014. Deceased donors with AKI whose kidney function was diminished were studied, with 70 percent classified as having severe AKI. Researchers found that transplant outcomes using kidneys from deceased donors with AKI were no different between the AKI and non-AKI groups at both 1 and 3 years post-transplant. Results included a comparison of graft survival (how long the kidney would last), kidney function and rejection rates.

"A decade ago we were very selective about using these AKI kidneys because of concern they wouldn't function well, or the long-term outcomes would be inferior," says Dr. Heilman. "Over time, however, especially in the past two years, we have found that such stringent criteria are not necessary." He added that AKI kidneys considered for transplantation are carefully examined by pathologists, surgeons and nephrologists to make sure they are viable.

"With our data and evidence, we are confident that we are not short-changing the recipient by offering these AKI organs for their kidney transplant," Dr. Heilman says.

He cites the ever-increasing disparity between the number of patients waiting for a kidney transplant and the available donor pool for driving the need to expand the criteria, noting that organs with AKI are one such option.

"Why would transplant surgeons and physicians push the envelope to get creative in using kidneys?" asks Dr. Heilman, explaining, "Because of the dramatic shortage of organs available for transplant." He notes that currently, some 100,000 patients in the U.S. are on a wait list for a kidney transplant, and because of the donor shortages, only between 12,000 and 13,000 people are able to receive a transplant per year. It is not uncommon for patients to wait 8 years in some parts of the U.S. "And the number of people dying on the wait list is increasing," he says.

"Our data and experience in studying use of AKI kidneys should assure the transplant communities that this results in safe and excellent outcomes," concludes Dr. Heilman. "If this is adopted across the U.S., we estimate that between 300 and 600 additional kidneys per year would be transplanted."
The study was published in the March 24 edition of American Journal of Transplantation.

Other Mayo Clinic authors include Maxwell Smith, M.D.; Sunil Kurian, Ph.D.; Janna Huskey, M.D.; Ramesh Batra, MBBS; Harini Chakkera, M.D.; Nitin Katariya, M.D.; Hasan Khamash, M.D.; Adyr Moss, M.D.; Daniel Salomon, M.D. and Kunam Reddy, MBBS.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

Mayo Clinic

Related Kidney Transplant Articles:

New allocation system reduces racial/ethnic disparities in kidney transplant
A new kidney allocation system implemented in 2014 by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) led to a narrowing of the disparities in national kidney transplant rates among whites, blacks and Hispanics on the transplant waitlist, according to a new analysis.
Testing urine for particular proteins could be key to preventing kidney transplant failure
Testing for molecular markers in the urine of kidney transplant patients could reveal whether the transplant is failing and why, according to research presented at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Kidney transplant success rates improve in children and infants
The success of kidney transplants has vastly improved for children over the past half-century, with young children now experiencing better long-term transplant success than adults, according to study results from a large pediatric transplant center.
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are concerns for older kidney transplant recipients
Risks of dementia and Alzheimer's disease are higher in older kidney transplant recipients than in older adults in the general population.
CDISC, C-Path, and TransCelerate announce TA standard for kidney transplant
The Coalition for Accelerating Standards and Therapies (CFAST), with TransCelerate BioPharma, Inc., announce the availability of a new Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) Therapeutic Area Standard for Kidney Transplantation -- the first CDISC standard to address a therapeutic area in the field of solid organ transplant.
More Kidney Transplant News and Kidney Transplant Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...