1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Kidney transplantation remains the best available treatment for end-stage renal disease. However, promoting graft longevity and preventing allosensitization requires strict adherence with a stringent immunosuppression regimen. The COVID-19 pandemic has offered new challenges for kidney transplant patients and many transplant centers are denying transplantation to unvaccinated patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether unvaccinated patients had inferior adherence after kidney transplantation along with a reduction in graft survival. STUDY DESIGN: Patients undergoing a deceased donor kidney transplantation at a single academic medical center from February 2021 to May 2022 were retrospectively reviewed. February 2021 was chosen as the start date for record review because it was 3 months after the first COVID-19 vaccination was authorized for emergency use. Patients were considered to be vaccinated if they received at least 1 dose of any mRNA vaccine by their transplantation date. RESULTS: Of the 301 patients who met study criteria, 234 were vaccinated and 67 were unvaccinated. Cohorts stratified by vaccination status were well matched. Younger age was an independent risk factor for nonvaccination. Interestingly, unvaccinated patients had worse postoperative adherence with a greater average number of missed postoperative clinic visits (p = 0.03) and a strong trend toward missing 3 or more postoperative clinic visits (p = 0.07). Finally, unvaccinated patients had statistically more subtherapeutic tacrolimus troughs (p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Patients not vaccinated against COVID-19 had higher rate of postoperative nonadherence in key areas of immunosuppression monitoring and clinic visit attendance. Providers should be cognizant that an unvaccinated status may be a harbinger for poor adherence; therefore, stricter strategies for patient outreach are critical to ensure graft success in this vulnerable patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023


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