Stratification of Kidney Transplant Recipients Into Five Subgroups Based on Temporal Disease Trajectories

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BACKGROUND: Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with end-stage renal disease. Considerable clinical research has focused on improving graft survival and an increasing number of kidney recipients die with a functioning graft. There is a need to improve patient survival and to better understand the individualized risk of comorbidities and complications. Here, we developed a method to stratify recipients into similar subgroups based on previous comorbidities and subsequently identify complications and for a subpopulation, laboratory test values associated with survival.

METHODS: First, we identified significant disease patterns based on all hospital diagnoses from the Danish National Patient Registry for 5752 kidney transplant recipients from 1977 to 2018. Using hierarchical clustering, these longitudinal patterns of diseases segregate into 3 main clusters of glomerulonephritis, hypertension, and diabetes. As some recipients are diagnosed with diseases from >1 cluster, recipients are further stratified into 5 more fine-grained trajectory subgroups for which survival, stratified complication patterns as well as laboratory test values are analyzed.

RESULTS: The study replicated known associations indicating that diabetes and low levels of albumin are associated with worse survival when investigating all recipients. However, stratification of recipients by trajectory subgroup showed additional associations. For recipients with glomerulonephritis, higher levels of basophils are significantly associated with poor survival, and these patients are more often diagnosed with bacterial infections. Additional associations were also found.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that disease trajectories can confirm known comorbidities and furthermore stratify kidney transplant recipients into clinical subgroups in which we can characterize stratified risk factors. We hope to motivate future studies to stratify recipients into more fine-grained, homogenous subgroups to better discover associations relevant for the individual patient and thereby enable more personalized disease-management and improve long-term outcomes and survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1576
JournalTransplantation Direct
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Transplantation Direct. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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