Purpose of review: The current era of organ shortage has necessitated a widening of criteria for donation, considering donors who would have been considered unsuitable before. This review summarizes the recent advances in strategies to maximize the use of marginal kidneys without compromising the outcomes.
Recent findings: Various strategies have been studied and implemented to optimize procurement and allocation of marginal kidneys, and to preserve their function. In particular, a growing number of transplant centers are using donors after circulatory death. Whereas normothermic ex-vivo and postmortem perfusion are promising procedures to improve the outcomes of marginal grafts in the future, dual-kidney transplantation is a viable approach which is at present potentially underutilized. Despite active research on new strategies to evaluate organ quality, pretransplant biopsy assessment currently remains the most reliable method. The practice of using living donors with advanced age is supported by available evidence, whereas the use of young living donors with minor medical abnormalities needs further investigation.
Summary: Progress has been made in the recent years, clarifying the best criteria for evaluating, recovering, and allocating marginal kidney donors. However, further research is needed, with special regards to the criteria for using marginal living-kidney donors.