Donation After Cardiac Death Liver Transplant Recipients Have an Increased Frequency of Acute Kidney Injury


Joanna Agnes Leithead,


Donation after cardiac death (DCD) liver transplantation is associated with an increased frequency of hepato-biliary complications. The implications for renal function have not been explored previously. The aims of this single-center study of 88 consecutive DCD liver transplant recipients were (1) to compare renal outcomes with propensity-risk-matched donation after brain death (DBD) patients and (2) in the DCD patients specifically to examine the risk factors for acute kidney injury (AKI; peak creatinine ≥2 times baseline) and chronic kidney disease (CKD; eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2). During the immediate postoperative period DCD liver transplantation was associated with an increased incidence of AKI (DCD, 53.4%; DBD 31.8%, p = 0.004). In DCD patients AKI was a risk factor for CKD (p = 0.035) and mortality (p = 0.017). The cumulative incidence of CKD by 3 years post-transplant was 53.7% and 42.1% for DCD and DBD patients, respectively (p = 0.774). Importantly, increasing peak perioperative aspartate aminotransferase, a surrogate marker of hepatic ischemia reperfusion injury, was the only consistent predictor of renal dysfunction after DCD transplantation (AKI, p < 0.001; CKD, p = 0.032). In conclusion, DCD liver transplantation is associated with an increased frequency of AKI. The findings suggest that hepatic ischemia reperfusion injury may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of post-transplant renal dysfunction.