The long-term graft outcomes after positive cross-match (PXM) living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT) are unknown and the descriptive published data present short-medium term results. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of LDKT with PXM by flow cytometry performed at our center during February 1999 to October 2006, compared to a control group, matched 1:1 for age, sex, race, retransplantation and transplant year. The PXM group was treated with a course of plasmapheresis/low-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) preoperatively, and OKT3 or thymoglobulin induction.
Both groups (n = 41 each) were comparable except for duration of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), induction, HLA mismatch and panel-reactive antibody (PRA). During the period of up to 9 years, 14 PXM and 7 controls lost their grafts (p < 0.04). Graft survival rates at 1 and 5 years were 89.9% and 69.4% for PXM group and 97.6% and 80.6% for the controls, respectively. PXM was associated with higher risk of graft loss (HR 2.6, p = 0.04; 95%CI 1.03–6.4) (t1/2= 6.8 years), but not with patient survival (HR 1.96, p = 0.29; 95%CI 0.6–7.0) or 1-year serum creatinine (β= 0.06, p = 0.59 for ln (SCr); 95% CI −0.16 to 0.28).
These results suggest that despite the favorable short-term results of PXM LDKT after PP/IVIg conditioning, medium-long-term outcomes are notably worse than expected, perhaps comparable to non-ECD deceased donor kidney transplantation (KT).