Renal transplantation: better fat than thin

Hsiang Chung, Vincent W. T. Lam, Lawrence P. K. Yuen, Brendan J. Ryan, Philip J. O'Connell, Jeremy R. Chapman, Wayne J. Hawthorne, Henry C. Pleass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Obesity has been a relative contraindication for renal transplantation. This study evaluates the impact of pretransplant body mass index (BMI) on renal transplant outcomes in a single institution in the era of modern immunosuppression. Materials and methods: A 10-y retrospective analysis was undertaken of 454 consecutive patients who received a renal transplant at Westmead Hospital from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2010. The role of pretransplant BMI on patient survival, graft survival, surgical complications, and postoperative complications was studied. Results: The mean age of transplant of this study population was 45.4 ± 13.0 y. Live donation rate was 53.5%, and 60.6% were male. The median preoperative BMI was 25.6 (range, 14.3-51.4). One-year and 5-y patient survival were 97.4% and 86.6%, respectively, whereas 1-y and 5-y death-censored graft survival were 97.1% and 91.9%, respectively. Patients with BMI >30 did not exhibit any significant difference in survival or graft failure but had higher surgical wound infection rates (hazard ratio 3.95, P < 0.01). Patients with preoperative BMI <18.5 were associated with a six-fold increase in both death and death-censored graft failure (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Pretransplant obesity increases wound infection but is not a contraindication to renal transplantation. Future prospective studies are required to further define the impact of low preoperative BMI <18.5.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-652
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Body mass index
  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Obesity


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