Aims: Many heart transplant recipients will develop end-stage renal disease in the post-operative course. The aim of this study was to identify the long-term incidence of end-stage renal disease, determine its risk factors, and investigate what subsequent therapy was associated with the best survival. Methods and results: A retrospective, single-centre study was performed in all adult heart transplant patients from 1984 to 2016. Risk factors for end-stage renal disease were analysed by means of multivariable regression analysis and survival by means of Kaplan–Meier. Of 685 heart transplant recipients, 71 were excluded: 64 were under 18 years of age and seven were re-transplantations. During a median follow-up of 8.6 years, 121 (19.7%) patients developed end-stage renal disease: 22 received conservative therapy, 80 were treated with dialysis (46 haemodialysis and 34 peritoneal dialysis), and 19 received a kidney transplant. Development of end-stage renal disease (examined as a time-dependent variable) inferred a hazard ratio of 6.45 (95% confidence interval 4.87–8.54, P < 0.001) for mortality. Tacrolimus-based therapy decreased, and acute kidney injury requiring renal replacement therapy increased the risk for end-stage renal disease development (hazard ratio 0.40, 95% confidence interval 0.26–0.62, P < 0.001, and hazard ratio 4.18, 95% confidence interval 2.30–7.59, P < 0.001, respectively). Kidney transplantation was associated with the best median survival compared with dialysis or conservative therapy: 6.4 vs. 2.2 vs. 0.3 years (P < 0.0001), respectively, after end-stage renal disease development. Conclusions: End-stage renal disease is a frequent complication after heart transplant and is associated with poor survival. Kidney transplantation resulted in the longest survival of patients with end-stage renal disease.
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© 2020 The Authors. ESC Heart Failure published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology