Kidney transplantation in the morbidly obese: complicated but still better than dialysis


Corresponding author: William M. Bennett, MD, Renal Transplant Program, Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, 1040 NW 22nd Avenue, Suite 480, Portland, OR 97210, USA.
Tel.: (503) 413 7349; fax: (503) 413 6563;


Bennett WM, McEvoy KM, Henell KR, Pidikiti S, Douzdjian V, Batiuk T. Kidney transplantation in the morbidly obese: complicated but still better than dialysis.
Clin Transplant 2011: 25: 401–405. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Abstract:  Obese patients are denied renal transplantation in many centers. We report results regarding obesity from a new transplant program (1999 through 2007). Six hundred and forty-two patients were transplanted: 439 patients with BMI < 30 (Group 1), 109 patients with BMI 30.1-34.9 (Group 2), and 89 patients with BMI > 35 (Group 3). Follow-up was at least one yr. Medical and surgical management was performed by the same team throughout the study period. There were no demographic differences between groups except for increased diabetes in Groups 2 and 3. Actuarial graft and patient survivals were not statistically different between groups. Group 3 patients had numerical trends toward more delayed graft function and lower graft survivals but these did not reach statistical significance. Biopsy-proven rejections did not differ between groups. Wound infections were statistically significant in Groups 2 and 3 compared to Group 1 (p < 0.01). Despite increased wound infection rates with increased BMI, transplanting patients with morbid obesity results in better survival for individual patients than dialysis. Thus, there is no a priori ethical reason for treating obese ESRD patients differently from those with other comorbidities.