Kidneys transplanted from deceased donors with serum creatinine-defined acute kidney injury (AKI) have similar allograft survival as non-AKI kidneys but are discarded at a higher rate. Urine injury biomarkers are sensitive markers of structural kidney damage and may more accurately predict graft outcomes.
In the 2010–2013 multicenter Deceased Donor Study of 2430 kidney transplant recipients from 1298 donors, we assessed the association of donor urine injury biomarkers microalbumin, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, kidney injury molecule-1, IL-18, and liver-type fatty acid binding protein with graft failure (GF) and death-censored GF (dcGF) using Cox proportional hazard models (median follow-up 4 y). We examined if serum creatinine-defined donor AKI modified this association to assess the relationship between subclinical donor AKI (elevated biomarkers without creatinine-defined AKI) and GF. Through chart review of a subcohort (1137 recipients), we determined associations between donor injury biomarkers and a 3-year composite outcome of GF, mortality, or estimated glomerular filtration rate ≤ 20mL/min/1.73m2.
Risk of GF, dcGF, and 3-year composite outcome did not vary with donor injury biomarker concentrations after adjusting for donor, transplant, and recipient characteristics (adjusted hazard ratio ranged from 0.96 to 1.01 per log-2 increase in biomarker). Subclinical injury in transplanted kidneys without AKI was not associated with GF.
AKI measured using injury biomarkers was not associated with posttransplant graft outcomes (at median 4 y posttransplant). When assessing posttransplant graft viability, clinicians can prioritize other donor and recipient factors over donor kidney injury, measured by either serum creatinine or urine injury biomarkers.