Introduction: This study focused on the value of quantitatively analyzed and qualitatively graded renal scintigraphy in relation to the expected duration of delayed graft function after kidney transplantation. A more reliable prediction of delayed graft function duration may result in a more tailored and patient-specific treatment regimen post-transplantation.
Methods: From 2000 to 2014, patients with early transplant dysfunction and a Tc-99m MAG3 renal scintigraphy, within 3 days post-transplantation, were included in a dual center retrospective study. Time-activity curves of renal scintigraphy procedures were qualitatively graded and various quantitative indices (R20/3, TFS, cTER, MUC10) were combined with a new index (Average upslope). The delayed graft function duration was defined as the number of days of dialysis-based/functional delayed graft function.
Results: A total of 377 patients were included, with a mean age (± SD) of 52 ± 14 years, and 58% were male. A total of 274 (73%) patients experienced delayed graft function 7 days. Qualitative grading for the prediction of delayed graft function 7 days had a sensitivity and specificity of respectively 87% and 65%. The quantitative indices with the most optimal results were cTER (76% sensitivity, 72% specificity), and Average upslope (75% sensitivity, 73% specificity).
Conclusions: Qualitative renal scintigraphy grading and the quantitative indices cTER and Average upslope predict delayed graft function ≥7 days with a high sensitivity. This finding may help to support both clinicians and patients in managing early post-operative expectations. However, the specificity is limited and thus renal scintigraphy does not reliably help to identify patients in whom the course of delayed graft function is longer than anticipated.