Five preventable causes of kidney graft loss in the 1990s: A single-center analysis

Arthur J. Matas, Abhinav Humar, Kristen J. Gillingham, William D. Payne, Rainer W G Gruessner, Raja Kandaswamy, David L. Dunn, John S. Najarian, David E R Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Background. Despite improvements in immunosuppressive protocols and patient care, kidney allografts continue to fail. We studied causes of graft loss for primary kidney transplants in the 1990s to determine major causes and potential interventions. Methods. Causes of graft loss were reviewed for 1467 primary kidney transplants done at our institution between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1999. Graft loss for that entire population was studied and then the causes of loss selectively examined at <1 year, 1 to 5 years, and >5 years post-transplant. Finally, causes of loss in the 1990s versus the 1980s were compared. Results. Five major causes of graft loss were noted in the 1990s: thrombosis, acute rejection (either alone or combined with delayed graft function or infection), chronic rejection, death with function, and noncompliance. In the first year post-transplant, thrombosis (25%) and death with function (41%) were the major causes of graft loss. After the first year, chronic rejection and death with function predominated. For recipients dying with graft function, cardiovascular disease was the major cause of death. Conclusions. This study identified the five major causes of kidney graft loss in the 1990s. Different interventions are required to decrease loss from each of these causes. Future research needs to be directed at such interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-714
Number of pages11
JournalKidney international
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant #13083. We thank Ms. Mary Knatterud for editorial assistance and Ms. Stephanie Daily for preparation of the manuscript.


  • Allograft
  • Chronic rejection
  • Delayed graft function
  • Kidney graft
  • Organ rejection
  • Thrombosis
  • Transplantation


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