Post renal transplant anemia: Severity, causes and their association with graft and patient survival

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Background: Post transplantation anemia (PTA) is common among kidney transplant patients. PTA is associated with increased graft loss and in most studies with increased mortality. However, the effect of the severity of anemia on this associations was not thoroughly evaluated. Methods: Patients who underwent kidney transplantation in Rabin Medical Center (RMC) were included in the study. Data were collected during the years 2002-2016. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin (Hb) level less than 12 g/dL in women and less than 13 g/dL in men, in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Severe anemia was defined as hemoglobin lower than 11 g/dL. Primary outcome was a composite of patient and graft survival. We used univariate and multivariate models to evaluate association between severity and specific causes of anemia with the outcomes. As the risk associated with anemia changed over time we analyzed the risk separately for the early and the late period (before and after 1251 days). Results: Our cohort included 1139 patients, 412 (36.2%) of which had PTA and 134 (11.7%) had severe anemia. On multivariable analysis, severe anemia was highly associated with the primary outcome at the early period (HR 6.26, 95% CI 3.74-10.5, p < 0.001). Anemia due to either AKI & acute rejection (11.9% of patients) or infection (16.7%), were associated with primary outcome at the early period (HR 9.32, 95% CI 5.3-26.41, p < 0.001 and HR 3.99, 95% CI 2.01-7.95, p < 0.001, respectively). There was non-significant trend for association between anemia due to Nutritional deficiencies (29.1%) and this outcome (HR 3.07, 95% CI 0.93-10.17, p = 0.067). Conclusion: PTA is associated with graft loss and mortality especially during the first three years. Anemia severity affects this association. An anemia workup is recommended for PTA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 13 Feb 2019


  • Anemia
  • Kidney transplantation
  • PTA
  • Post-transplantation anemia


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