A comparison between recipients receiving matched kidney and those receiving mismatched kidney from the same cadaver donor.
The optimal allocation of cadaveric kidneys for transplantation with reference to human leukocyte antigen (HLA) match and sharing these organs to a distant center remains controversial. The current analysis was performed using the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database for cadaveric kidney transplants (Tx) between 1988 and 1997. The graft survivals of zero-mismatch (matched) kidneys with the mate (mismatched) kidneys were compared. There were 2385 donors and 4770 Tx. Significant differences in recipient demographics between matched and mismatched Tx were: fewer African-American race (AA) in the matched group (9.0% vs. 21.9%), higher number of previous Tx (25.5% vs. 14.8%) and elevated mean cold ischemia time (24.0 vs. 22.2 h). Post-Tx dialysis requirements were similar (22.8% vs. 24.1%, p = 0.62) and matched kidneys had to travel more distance (920 vs. 232 miles). Using a Cox model, the matched group had a decreased relative hazard of graft failure of 23.0% (p = 0.0002) or 35% (p < 0.0001) with and without censoring for death. There was significantly better graft survival in the matched recipients in all pairs except AA (matched) and non-AA (mismatched). For older donors (> or = 50 years, n = 1508), the matched grafts survival was marginally significant (p =0.05). Matched kidneys have improved survival compared with the mismatched kidneys despite the longer distance traveled. The benefit of mismatched transplants was predominantly seen in non-AA.