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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 570-572
Vascular complications following 1500 consecutive living and cadaveric donor renal transplantations: A single center study

Shiraz Organ Transplantation Center, Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

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Date of Web Publication8-Jul-2009


The aim of this study was to document vascular complications that occurred fol≠lowing cadaveric and living donor kidney transplants in order to assess the overall incidence of these complications at our center as well as to identify possible risk factors. In a retrospective cohort study, 1500 consecutive renal transplant recipients who received a living or cadaveric donor kidney between December 1988 and July 2006 were evaluated. The study was performed at the Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz, Iran. The assessment of the anatomy and number of renal arteries as well as the incidence of vascular complications was made by color doppler ultrasonography, angiography, and/or surgical exploration. Clinically apparent vascular complications were seen in 8.86% of all study patients (n = 133) with the most frequent being hemorrhage (n = 91; 6.1%) followed by allo≠graft renal artery stenosis (n = 26; 1.7%), renal artery thrombosis (n = 9; 0.6%), and renal vein thrombosis (n = 7; 0.5%). Vascular complications were more frequent in recipients of cadaveric organs than recipients of allografts from living donors (12.5% vs. 7.97%; P= 0.017). The occurrence of vascular complications was significantly more frequent among recipients of renal allografts with multiple arteries when compared with recipients of kidneys with single artery (12.3% vs. 8.2%; P= 0.033). The same was true to venous complications as well (25.4% vs. 8.2%; P< 0.001). Our study shows that vascular complications were more frequent in allografts with multiple renal blood vessels. Also, the complications were much less frequent in recipients of living donor transplants.

Keywords: Renal Transplantation, Renal Artery Stenosis, Renal Vein Thrombosis

How to cite this article:
Salehipour M, Salahi H, Jalaeian H, Bahador A, Nikeghbalian S, Barzideh E, Ariafar A, Malek-Hosseini SA. Vascular complications following 1500 consecutive living and cadaveric donor renal transplantations: A single center study. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2009;20:570-2

How to cite this URL:
Salehipour M, Salahi H, Jalaeian H, Bahador A, Nikeghbalian S, Barzideh E, Ariafar A, Malek-Hosseini SA. Vascular complications following 1500 consecutive living and cadaveric donor renal transplantations: A single center study. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2009 [cited 2021 Oct 23];20:570-2. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2009/20/4/570/53243

   Introduction Top

Renal transplantation is accepted as the pre≠ferred treatment for most cases of end-stage renal disease. Despite improvement in surgical and diagnostic techniques, vascular complica≠tions following kidney transplantation remain an important clinical problem that may increase morbidity, hospitalization and costs. [1] Post trans≠plant vascular complications include stenosis or thrombosis of the transplant renal artery or vein, hemorrhage or arteriovenous fistulas after biopsy. Impaired arterial perfusion of the transplant may be an important cause of graft dysfunction or refractory hypertension. [1] Therefore, knowledge of the incidence, clinical manifestations and ma≠nagement of vascular complications is necessary for all kidney transplant surgeons.

In this study, we aimed at evaluating the inci≠dence of vascular complications among 1500 re≠cipients of living and cadaveric donor renal transplantations, as well as to assess the possi≠ble risk factors.

   Materials and Methods Top

We conducted a retrospective study on 1500 consecutive renal transplanted patients (4-70 years old) who received a living or cadaveric donor kidney between December 1988 and July 2006 in a regional transplant center (Nemazee Hospital affiliated to Shiraz University of Me≠dical Sciences, Iran). This period was relatively homogenous in terms of general clinical ma≠nagement following kidney transplantation. All transplants were performed by the same ex≠perienced surgical team, which was sufficiently trained for performing kidney transplantation.

Demographic and clinical data at the time of transplantation and during hospitalization were collected by chart review. Patients were divided into three groups depending on their donors: Living related, living unrelated and cadaveric. The anatomy and number of renal arteries were noted from the angiography reports, which was performed for all living donors before the ope≠ration, and from the operation notes. Vascular complications were diagnosed by using color doppler sonography that was performed within the first 24 hours in all recipients as well as angiography or surgical exploration, which were performed in clinically suspected cases. The immunosuppressive protocol used in our trans≠plant unit comprised of cyclosporine (CsA), imuran or cellcept, and prednisolone in all study patients. The surgical technique used for all transplantations was the accepted standard pro≠cedure of placing the allograft in either the right or the left iliac fossa by using an extra-peri≠toneal approach.

Categorical variables were analyzed using the chi-square test. P < 0.05 was considered statis≠tically significant. Results are reported as means Ī SD. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 11.5 (Chicago, IL, USA)

   Results Top

Among the 1500 study patients, the male: female ratio was 2.05 (1008 males, 492 females). The mean age was 33.92 Ī 13.02 years. A total of 1203 patients (80.2%) received kidneys from living donors (616 cases were from living rela≠ted donors, 587 were from living unrelated ones) and 297 patients (19.8%) received kidneys from cadaveric sources. Vascular anatomic variations noted in the allograft were as follows: 1264 allografts (84.3%) had only one renal artery, 222 (14.8%) had two arteries and 14 allografts (0.93%) had more than two arteries. Further≠more, 1441 kidneys (96.1%) had only one renal vein, and 58 (3.8%) had two veins. One allo≠graft was found to have four renal veins while four kidneys had four renal arteries each.

Clinically apparent vascular complications were seen in 8.86% (n = 133) of all study patients. The most frequent vascular complications were hemorrhage seen in 6.1% (n = 91) of the cases followed by renal arterial stenosis seen in 1.7% (n = 26), renal artery thrombosis in 0.6% (n = 9), and renal vein thrombosis seen in 0.5% (n = 7) of the patients. Rare vascular complications included arteriovenous fistulas and aneurysms (each less than 0.1%). Among the 1204 re≠cipients of living donor kidneys, 96 patients (7.97%) had vascular complications while 37 (12.5%) of the 296 recipients of cadaveric kid≠neys developed vascular complications (P= 0.017). The frequency of occurrence of vascular complications was significantly higher among recipients of renal allografts with multiple arte≠ries rather than single artery (12.3% vs. 8.2%; P= 0.033). Additionally, only 8.2% of recipients of allografts with single renal vein developed vascular complications while 25.4% of those with multiple veins experienced vascular complications (P< 0.001). There was no significant differrence in the frequency of vascular com≠plications between male and female recipients (8.1% vs. 10.4%; P= 0.17).

   Discussion Top

One of the important complications after renal transplantation is vascular complications. Among them, thrombosis, transplant renal artery ste≠nosis, and hemorrhage are three troublesome complications that could affect patient as well as graft survival. [2]

The incidence of thrombotic complications in our series was only 0.5% which is close to the report of Osman Y et al. [2] However, this figure is much lower than the 0.8 to 6% prevalence seen in recipients of cadaveric donor kidneys. [3] ,[4] In both studies, living donors comprised the majority of organ donors. In our study, vascular complications occurred less frequently following living donor renal transplantation compared to cadaveric donor transplantation (P= 0.017). Li≠ving donor renal transplantation is usually per≠formed under more favorable circumstances. These donors are evaluated scrupulously for evidence of atherosclerosis, diabetes, and/or any degenerative or vascular impediments before operation. However, cadaveric donor transplan≠tations are usually performed in less elective si≠tuations. In our center, both living as well as cadaveric donor transplants are performed by the same team of highly experienced urologists, making technical errors almost negligible.

Transplant renal artery stenosis is a primary and potentially reversible cause of hypertension and graft loss. [2] Although invasive, angiography is the gold standard for assessing this patho≠logical condition. The role of doppler ultrasound and magnetic resonance angiography is still con≠troversial. [5] Depending on the methodology used for diagnosis, the reported incidence of trans≠plant renal artery stenosis is 1 to 16%. [6]

The 1.7% incidence of transplant renal artery stenosis in our series is quite low compared with that of other reports and could be attribu≠table, at least in part, to the fact that we used conventional angiography for diagnosis. The other reason may be the large number of living donor transplantations performed in our study patients. In accordance with previous literature, we found more vascular complications among recipients of allografts with multiple renal blood vessels. These allografts should be managed with care, both during bench preparation and sur≠gical suturing. Generally, vascular anastomosis in renal transplantation should be performed meticulously, so that vascular complications are avoided.

   Acknowledgements Top

The authors would like to thank Miss Gholami and Mrs. Ghorbani at Center for Development of Clinical Research of Nemazee Hospital for editorial and typing assistance.

   References Top

1.Humar A, Matas AJ. Surgical complications after kidney transplantation. Semin Dial 2005; 18:505-10.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
2.Osman Y, Shokeir A, Ali-el-Dein B, Tantawy M, Wafa EW et al. Vascular complications after live donor renal transplantation: study of risk factors and effects on graft and patients survival. J Urol. 2003;169:859-62.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Bakir N, Sluiter WJ, Ploeg RJ, Van Son WJ, Tegzess AM. Primary renal graft thrombosis. Nephrol Dial Translplant 1996;11:140-7.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Groggel GC. Acute thrombosis of the renal transplant artery: a case report and review of the literature. Clin Nephrol 1991;36:42-5.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  
5.Cahen R, Loubeyre P, Trolliet P, et al. Magnetic resonance angiography for the detection of transplant renal artery stenosis. Transplant Proc 1996;28:2830.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  
6.Halimi JM, Al-Najjar A, Buchler M, et al. Trans≠plant renal artery stenosis: potential role of ischemia/reperfusion injury and long term out≠come following angioplasty. J Urol 1999;161: 28-32.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]

Correspondence Address:
Mehdi Salehipour
Assistant Professor of Urology, Fellowship of Renal Transplantation Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Faghihi Hospital, Shiraz
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PMID: 19587495

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