Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Early graft loss (EGL) is a feared outcome of kidney transplantation. Consequently, kidneys with an anticipated risk of EGL are declined for transplantation. In the most favorable scenario, with optimal use of available donor kidneys, the donor pool size is balanced by the risk of EGL, with a tradeoff dictated by the consequences of EGL. To gauge the consequence of EGL we systematically evaluated its impact in an observational study that included all 10,307 deceased-donor kidney transplantations performed in The Netherlands between 1990 and 2018. Incidence of EGL, defined as graft loss within 90 days, in primary transplantation was 8.2% (699/8,511). The main causes were graft rejection (30%), primary nonfunction (25%), and thrombosis or infarction (20%). EGL profoundly impacted short- and long-term patient survival (adjusted hazard ratio; 95% confidence interval: 8.2; 5.1-13.2 and 1.7; 1.3-2.1, respectively). Of the EGL recipients who survived 90 days after transplantation (617/699) only 440 of the 617 were relisted for re-transplantation. Of those relisted, only 298 were ultimately re-transplanted leading to an actual re-transplantation rate of 43%. Noticeably, re-transplantation was associated with a doubled incidence of EGL, but similar long-term graft survival (adjusted hazard ratio 1.1; 0.6-1.8). Thus, EGL after kidney transplantation is a medical catastrophe with high mortality rates, low relisting rates, and increased risk of recurrent EGL following re-transplantation. This implies that detrimental outcomes also involve convergence of risk factors in recipients with EGL. The 8.2% incidence of EGL minimally impacted population mortality, indicating this incidence is acceptable.

Original publication




Journal article


Kidney Int

Publication Date





1243 - 1252


deceased-donor kidney transplantation, early graft loss, graft survival, patient survival, primary nonfunction, re-transplantation, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Humans, Kidney, Kidney Transplantation, Netherlands, Retrospective Studies, Tissue Donors, Treatment Outcome