Certain ABO blood types have been linked to cardiovascular disease, infection and cancers. The effect of recipient ABO blood group on patient and graft survival has not been studied in ABO-matched kidney transplantation. This study aims to determine the association between kidney transplant recipient ABO blood groups with patient and graft survival in Australian and New Zealand.
All Australian and New Zealand transplant recipients who received ABO-compatible primary kidney transplants between 1995-2016 were analysed using a de-identified dataset from the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry. Primary analysis was undertaken of recipient ABO blood group O versus non-O blood groups. The primary outcome was patient survival post kidney transplantation and the secondary outcome was death censored graft survival. Recipient age at first transplant, gender, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status, vascular disease, presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, primary kidney disease, donor source, donor age and gender, and era of transplants were included in the multivariate model as confounders.
On analysis of 15,523 kidney transplant recipients, blood group O was not associated with patient survival (hazard ratio (HR) 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.89-1.04) nor death censored graft survival (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.89-1.05) compared to non-blood group O recipients. Competing risks analyses showed an increased risk of cancer-related mortality in blood group O recipients on univariate analyses (HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.01-1.37) however, this became insignificant on multivariate analyses. On secondary analyses, recipient blood group AB (4.11% participants) was associated with inferior death censored graft survival compared to those with blood group O (HR 1.24, 95% CI 1.02-1.50). Although recipient ABO blood groups were not associated with patient nor graft survival, differences in cause-specific mortality between individual blood groups cannot be excluded based on current analyses.