Second Transplants Can Be Just as Successful as Primary Transplants

Washington, DC (May 10, 2012) - One failed transplant does not mean another will follow. According to new research presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s Spring Clinical Meetings held here this week, those who receive a second kidney have a high chance of success.

Researchers led by Syed Jawad Sher, MD of Indiana University School of Medicine, found no significant differences between primary and repeat transplants in terms of survival of the transplanted kidney, rejection or infection rates. The one and five year kidney graft survival rates were similar and researchers did not note a higher incidence of bacterial and viral infections.

In the first study to look at primary and second kidney transplants from the same donor, researchers compared outcomes from 38 deceased donors who donated one kidney to a repeat transplant and the mate kidney to a primary transplant.

“Second transplants have traditionally been considered a high immunologic risk, but there’s been a lack of data on outcomes of re-transplants,” said Dr. Sher. “Our study, which was controlled for donor factors making the findings reliable, shows that re-transplants can be equally successful.”

Modern day immunosuppression may be responsible for the ability of patients to overcome the challenges posed by prior sensitization in terms of rejection, according to Sher. Additionally, the induction and maintenance immunosuppression were the same and that may explain why there was no difference in the rate of infection.

“The message to kidney specialists is that they can feel comfortable referring patients with failed transplants for a second transplant evaluation. This study also gives hope to patients that they have a very good likelihood of success the second time around,” said Lynda Szczech, MD, National Kidney Foundation President.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing and treating kidney disease, improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information visit