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Predicting patient survival after deceased donor kidney transplantation using flexible parametric modelling

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlie Tomson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: The influence of donor and recipient factors on outcomes following kidney transplantation is commonly analysed using Cox regression models, but this approach is not useful for predicting long-term survival beyond observed data. We demonstrate the application of a flexible parametric approach to fit a model that can be extrapolated for the purpose of predicting mean patient survival. The primary motivation for this analysis is to develop a predictive model to estimate post-transplant survival based on individual patient characteristics to inform the design of alternative approaches to allocating deceased donor kidneys to those on the transplant waiting list in the United Kingdom.Methods: We analysed data from over 12,000 recipients of deceased donor kidney or combined kidney and pancreas transplants between 2003 and 2012. We fitted a flexible parametric model incorporating restricted cubic splines to characterise the baseline hazard function and explored a range of covariates including recipient, donor and transplant-related factors.Results: Multivariable analysis showed the risk of death increased with recipient and donor age, diabetic nephropathy as the recipient's primary renal diagnosis and donor hypertension. The risk of death was lower in female recipients, patients with polycystic kidney disease and recipients of pre-emptive transplants. The final model was used to extrapolate survival curves in order to calculate mean survival times for patients with specific characteristics.Conclusion: The use of flexible parametric modelling techniques allowed us to address some of the limitations of both the Cox regression approach and of standard parametric models when the goal is to predict long-term survival.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li B, Cairns JA, Robb ML, Johnson RJ, Watson CJE, Forsythe JL, Oniscu GC, Ravanan R, Dudley C, Roderick P, Metcalfe W, Tomson CR, Bradley JA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Nephrology

Year: 2016

Volume: 17

Online publication date: 25/05/2016

Acceptance date: 16/05/2016

Date deposited: 27/07/2016

ISSN (print): 1471-2369

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s12882-016-0264-0


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Funder referenceFunder name
RP-PG-0109-10116National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)