Long-term survival of kidney transplant recipients and their grafts has steadily improved over the past 30 years, according to researchers presenting at the 2019 American Transplant Congress in Boston.

Based on data from 385,687 recipients in the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), kidney transplant recipients had significantly lower risk of mortality by 13%, 13%, 15%, and 16% in each 5-year period, respectively, leading up the years 2011 to 2017, compared with reference years 1991 to 1995. Patients receiving kidneys more recently also enjoyed significantly lower risk of graft loss by 8%, 10%, 12%, and 16%, respectively.

“Although innovations in immunosuppression may have been one of the reasons for these improvements, further investigation into other factors is necessary…” study author Bhamidipati Murthy, MBBS, MD, DM, and colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston stated.

The top causes of death among kidney recipients were cardiovascular events, sepsis, and malignancy.


Wu C, Rana A, Galvan N, O’Mahony C, Goss J, Murthy B. Room for Optimism; Improvement in Long-Term Patient and Graft Survival of Kidney Transplants in the United States over the past Three Decades. Presented at the 2019 American Transplant Congress in Boston, June 1-5. Abstract 8.