Characterizing the landscape and impact of infections following kidney transplantation

Kyle R. Jackson, Jennifer D. Motter, Sunjae Bae, Amber Kernodle, Jane J. Long, William Werbel, Robin Avery, Christine Durand, Allan B. Massie, Niraj Desai, Jacqueline Garonzik-Wang, Dorry L. Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Infections remain a major threat to successful kidney transplantation (KT). To characterize the landscape and impact of post-KT infections in the modern era, we used United States Renal Data System (USRDS) data linked to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) to study 141 661 Medicare-primary kidney transplant recipients from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2014. Infection diagnoses were ascertained by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes. The cumulative incidence of a post-KT infection was 36.9% at 3 months, 53.7% at 1 year, and 78.0% at 5 years. The most common infections were urinary tract infection (UTI; 46.8%) and pneumonia (28.2%). Five-year mortality for kidney transplant recipients who developed an infection was 24.9% vs 7.9% for those who did not, and 5-year death-censored graft failure (DCGF) was 20.6% vs 10.1% (P <.001). This translated to a 2.22-fold higher mortality risk (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]:, P <.001) and 1.92-fold higher DCGF risk (aHR: 1.841.911.98, P <.001) for kidney transplant recipients who developed an infection, although the magnitude of this higher risk varied across infection types (for example, 3.11-fold higher mortality risk for sepsis vs 1.62-fold for a UTI). Post-KT infections are common and substantially impact mortality and DCGF, even in the modern era. Kidney transplant recipients at high risk for infections might benefit from enhanced surveillance or follow-up to mitigate these risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-207
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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