It is unclear whether patients whose transplanted kidneys are no longer functioning should receive second transplants, or whether they should be treated with dialysis.
A study team led by Rainer Oberbauer, MD (the Medical University of Vienna, in Austria) compared these options. The study analyzed data about 2,346 adults with a failed first kidney transplant who were waitlisted for a second kidney transplant in Austria during 1980-2019.
At a 10-year follow-up point, patients who received a second kidney transplant had a longer average survival time compared with those who underwent dialysis while remaining on the transplant waitlist.
Specifically, patients who underwent retransplantation lived for an average of 5.8 months longer. The difference in survival time with retransplantation was lower in patients who had a long wait time after their first transplant failed.
At the 10-year follow-up point, patients who underwent retransplantation lived for an average of 8.0 and 0.1 months of additional life for patients with a waiting time of less than 1 year and 8 years, respectively.
These data show that second transplantation is advantageous regarding gained life years; however, the difference to non-transplanted patients decreases with time on the waiting list.
Nevertheless, patients might have a higher quality of life when transplanted and therefore should get a second transplant if a suitable donor organ is available.
If these results are reproduced in imitated trials from other countries, it would signify the importance of decreasing time on the waiting list for second kidney transplant candidates.
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