Outcomes From Right Versus Left Deceased-Donor Kidney Transplants: A US National Cohort Study

Sanjay Kulkarni, Guo Wei, Wei Jiang, Licia A. Lopez, Chirag R. Parikh, Isaac E. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rationale & Objective: There may be important transplant-related differences between right and left kidneys, including logistical/surgical considerations about vessel length for the right compared to the left kidney from the same donor. Because US centers choose between the right and left kidney when their recipient is ranked higher on a “match-run,” we sought to determine whether deceased-donor right kidneys have had worse posttransplantation outcomes than left kidneys. Study Design: Paired Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network analysis. Setting & Participants: Deceased-donor kidney pairs transplanted during 1990 to 2016. Exposure: Right versus left kidney controlling for other significant factors. Outcomes: Delayed graft function (DGF), all-cause and death-censored graft failure, and mortality. Analytical Approach: Multivariable conditional logistic regression for DGF; proportional hazards models (conditional on same donor) for failure/mortality with right kidneys (operationalized as 6-month time-varying coefficients) adjusting for DGF and other confounders. Results: 87,112 recipient pairs shared the following donor characteristics: mean age of 41 ± 14 years, 60% males, and 11% with cardiac death. Recipient characteristics were numerically similar by donor kidney side but with some statistical differences given the sample size. Right kidneys had slightly longer cold ischemia time. DGF occurred more often for right kidneys (28% vs 25.8%; P < 0.001; adjusted OR, 1.15 [95% CI, 1.12-1.17]). The adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) for all-cause graft failure with right kidneys within 6 months was 1.07 (95% CI, 1.03-1.11), and was 0.99 (95% CI, 0.97-1.01) thereafter. The aHRs for death-censored graft failure with right kidneys before and after 6 months were 1.11 (95% CI, 1.06-1.16) and 0.96 (95% CI, 0.93-0.99), respectively; the corresonding aHRs for mortality were 0.99 (95% CI, 0.93-1.04) and 1.00 (95% CI, 0.98-1.03), respectively. Limitations: Registry data, different transplant eras, reasons for kidney side unavailable. Conclusions: There is modest association for transplantation of right kidneys with DGF and graft loss within the first 6 months, which is lost beyond this time point. These findings do not support the use of laterality of deceased-donor kidneys as an important factor in organ acceptance decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-735
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Kidney transplantation
  • deceased organ donor
  • delayed graft function (DGF)
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • graft survival
  • kidney laterality
  • matched-pair analysis
  • organ acceptance
  • right versus left
  • transplant outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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