Kidneys procured by donation after cardiac death (DCD) may increase the donor pool but are associated with high incidence of delayed graft function (DGF). Urinary liver-type fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP) level is an early biomarker of renal injury after kidney transplantation (KTx); however, its utility is limited in DGF cases owing to urine sample unavailability. We examined whether serum L-FABP level predicts functional recovery of transplanted DCD kidneys. Consecutive patients undergoing KTx from living related donors (LD), brain-dead donors (BD), or DCD were retrospectively enrolled. Serum L-FABP levels were measured from samples collected before and after KTx. Serum L-FABP decreased rapidly in patients with immediate function, slowly in DGF patients, and somewhat increased in DGF patients requiring hemodialysis (HD) for >1 wk. Receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis demonstrated that DGF was predicted with 84% sensitivity (SE) and 86% specificity (SP) at cutoff of 9.0 ng/mL on post-operative day (POD) 1 and 68% SE and 90% SP at 6.0 on POD 2. DGF >7 d was predicted with 83% SE and 78% SP at 11.0 on POD 1 and 67% SE and 78% SP at 6.5 on POD 2. Serum L-FABP levels may predict graft recovery and need for HD after DCD KTx.
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