Implementation of donation after circulatory death kidney transplantation can safely enlarge the donor pool: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Elsaline Rijkse, Sebastiaan Ceuppens, Hongchao Qi, Jan N.M. IJzermans, Dennis A. Hesselink, Robert C. Minnee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Donation after circulatory death (DCD) kidney transplantation has been introduced to address organ shortage. However, DCD kidneys are not accepted worldwide due to concerns about inferior quality. To investigate whether these concerns are justified, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate DCD graft outcomes compared to donation after brain death (DBD). Materials and methods: EMBASE, Medline, Cochrane, Web of Science and Google Scholar were searched from database inception until September 2020. Exclusion criteria were studies reporting on pediatric/dual kidney transplants, multi-organ transplants or studies including normothermic perfusion techniques. The primary outcome was graft survival. Secondary outcomes were primary non-function (PNF), delayed graft function (DGF), 3-months biopsy-proven acute rejection (BPAR), 1-year estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR), patient survival, and urologic complications. A random-effects model was used for meta-analysis. Meta-regression analysis was performed in case of high between-study heterogeneity. Results: Fifty-one studies were included, comprising 73,454 DCD and 518,229 DBD recipients. One-year graft loss was increased in DCD recipients (death-censored: risk ratio (RR) 1.10 (95%-confidence interval (CI) 1.04–1.16), all-cause: RR 1.13 (95%-CI 1.08–1.19)). Ten-year graft loss was similar to DBD (death-censored: RR 1.02 (95%-CI 0.92–1.13), all-cause: RR 1.03 (95%-CI 0.94–1.13)). DCD recipients had an increased risk of PNF (RR 1.43 (95%-CI 1.26–1.62)), DGF (RR 2.02 (95%-CI 1.88–2.16)), and 1-year mortality (RR 1.10 (95%-CI 1.01–1.21)). No differences were observed for 3-months BPAR, ureter stenosis/leakage, 1-year eGFR and 10-year mortality. Conclusion: Long-term DCD kidney transplant outcomes are similar to DBD despite a higher risk of PNF, DGF, and a 13% increased risk of graft loss in the first year after transplantation. These results should encourage implementation of DCD programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106021
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank mw. Elise Krabbendam, biomedical information specialist, for her help with composing the search term. We would also like to thank mw. Alicia Chorley for her help with language editing. This study was not funded.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Implementation of donation after circulatory death kidney transplantation can safely enlarge the donor pool: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this