Associations of renal function at 1-year after kidney transplantation with subsequent return to dialysis, mortality, and healthcare costs

Mark A. Schnitzler, Karissa Johnston, David Axelrod, Adrian Gheorghian, Krista L. Lentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background. Improved early kidney transplant outcomes limit the contemporary utility of standard clinical endpoints. Quantifying the relationship of renal function at 1 year after transplant with subsequent clinical outcomes and healthcare costs may facilitate cost-benefit evaluations among transplant recipients. Methods. Data for Medicare-insured kidney-only transplant recipients (1995-2003) were drawn from the United States Renal Data System. Associations of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) level at the first transplant anniversary with subsequent death-censored graft failure and patient death in posttransplant years 1 to 3 and 4 to 7 were examined by parametric survival analysis. Associations of eGFR with total health care costs defined by Medicare payments were assessed with multivariate linear regression. Results. Among 38,015 participants, first anniversary eGFR level demonstrated graded associations with subsequent outcomes. Compared with patients with 12-month eGFR more than or equal to 60 mL/min/1.73 m, the adjusted relative risk of death-censored graft failure in years 1 to 3 was 31% greater for eGFR 45 to 59 mL/min/1.73 m (P<0.0001) and 622% greater for eGFR 15 to 30 mL/min/1.73 m (P<0.0001). Associations of first anniversary eGFR level with graft failure and mortality remained significant in years 4 to 7. The proportions of recipients expected to return to dialysis or die attributable to eGFR less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m over 10 years were 23.1% and 9.4%, respectively, and were significantly higher than proportions attributable to delayed graft function or acute rejection. Reduced eGFR was associated with graded and significant increases in health care spending during years 2 and 3 after transplant (P<0.0001). Conclusion. eGFR is strongly associated with clinical and economic outcomes after kidney transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1347-1356
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 27 2011


  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Graft failure
  • Healthcare costs
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Medicare
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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