Transfer from pediatric to adult care may require a period of adaptation to the new healthcare environment. We sought to determine whether this adaptation period was associated with an increased risk of graft failure.
Children (age, 0-18 years) recorded in the Canadian Organ Replacement Register who received a first kidney transplant in a pediatric health center between 1992 and 2007, and who had more than or equal to 3 months of graft function, were followed up until death, loss to follow-up, or December 31, 2007. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the excess risk associated with a period of adaptation to adult-oriented care, defined as the interval 0.5 years before to 2.5 years after the first recorded adult care visit. Models were adjusted for age, gender, donor source, and ethnicity.
Of the 413 patients evaluated, 149 were transferred to adult care during study period. In total, 78 (18.9%) patients experienced graft failure-23 during the adaptation period. Compared with the period before adaptation, the adjusted hazard ratio for graft loss within the adaptation period was 2.24 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19-4.20). The adjusted graft failure rate was 2.26 (1.04-4.93) times higher after 18 years of age than between 0 and 13 years. Aboriginal ethnicity and deceased donor source were also associated with a significantly higher risk of graft failure.
The period of adaptation to adult-oriented care is associated with a high risk of graft failure in pediatric renal transplant patients.