BACKGROUND. Gastrointestinal complications are common in patients who undergo kidney transplantation and may affect posttransplant outcomes. We examined the incidence and predictors of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and dyspepsia and their associations with graft survival and mortality after transplant. METHODS. We examined United States Renal Data System data and Medicare billing claims to identify diagnoses of dyspepsia and GERD among Medicare beneficiaries transplanted in 1995-2002 (n=42,257). Among GERD cases, we identified patients with reflux esophagitis (RE). We determined independent predictors of upper gastrointestinal complications and modeled these conditions as time-dependent outcomes predictors with Cox regression. RESULTS. The 3-year cumulative incidences of GERD, RE, and dyspepsia were 20%, 5%, and 6%, respectively. Overall, 23% of transplant recipients received a diagnosis of at least one of these complications by 3 years after transplant. Female gender and a pretransplant upper gastrointestinal disease diagnosis predicted posttransplant gastrointestinal complications. Older age, obesity, Caucasian, and African-American race were associated to increased risk of developing GERD. Patients diagnosed with any of the examined upper gastrointestinal complications experienced an increased risk of graft-failure (hazard ratio 1.58; 95% confidence interval 1.48-1.69) and death (hazard ratio 1.61; 95% confidence interval 1.46-1.77). CONCLUSIONS. Upper gastrointestinal complications are relatively common after kidney transplantation and are associated with a significantly increased risk of graft loss and death. Further research is needed to elucidate mechanisms underlying the observed adverse prognoses conferred by diagnosis of upper gastrointestinal complications after kidney transplant.
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Graft survival
- Kidney transplantation
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