Indexed on: 13 Aug '11Published on: 13 Aug '11Published in: American Journal of Transplantation
Mortality risk for kidney transplant recipients may change with increasing accumulated exposure to the "transplantation milieu." We sought to characterize changes over time in mortality rate and in age-, sex- and race-standardized mortality ratios (SMR) relative to the general population, and to estimate the association between increasing time since first transplant and mortality risk. A total of 18 911 patients who received a first transplant at <21 years old (1983-2006), and whose data were recorded in the USRDS, were studied. There were 2713 deaths over a median follow-up of 8.9 (interquartile range 4.0-14.5; maximum 23) years. Among those with graft function, mortality was highest in the first post transplant year; beyond the first year of the first transplant, age-adjusted mortality rates and SMRs decreased slightly over follow-up. Cause of death was cardiovascular for 34.6%, infection for 19.5%, malignancy for 5.8%, other for 21.4% and unknown for 18.7%. For every 1-year time increment after the end of the first post transplant year, age-adjusted all-cause and cardiovascular mortality rates fell by 1% (p = 0.06) and 16% (p = 0.007), respectively; infection-related mortality rate did not change over time (p = 0.5). These results suggest that exposure to the transplantation milieu has no cumulative negative effects on cardiovascular health over the long term.