Obesity in the recipient is linked to inferior transplant outcome. Consequently, access to kidney transplantation (KT) is often restricted by body mass index (BMI) thresholds. Bariatric surgery (BS) has been established as a superior treatment for obesity compared to conservative measures, but it is unclear whether it is beneficial for patients on the waiting list.
A national survey consisting of 16 questions was sent to all heads of German KT centers. Current situation of KT candidates with obesity and the status of BS were queried.
Center response rate was 100%. Obesity in KT candidates was considered an important issue (96.1%; n = 49/51) and 68.6% (n = 35/51) of departments responded to use absolute BMI thresholds for KT waiting list access with ≥ 35 kg/m (45.1%; n = 23/51) as the most common threshold. BS was considered an appropriate weight loss therapy (92.2%; n = 47/51), in particular before KT (88.2%; n = 45/51). Sleeve gastrectomy was the most favored procedure (77.1%; n = 37/51). Twenty-one (41.2%) departments responded to evaluate KT candidates with obesity by default but only 11 (21.6%) had experience with ≥ n = 5 transplants after BS. Concerns against BS were malabsorption of immunosuppressive therapy (39.2%; n = 20/51), perioperative morbidity (17.6%; n = 9/51), and malnutrition (13.7%; n = 7/51).
Obesity is potentially limiting access for KT. Despite commonly used BMI limits, only few German centers consider BS for obesity treatment in KT candidates by default. A national multicenter study is desired by nearly all heads of German transplant centers to prospectively assess the potentials, risks, and safety of BS in KT waitlisted patients.

© 2022. The Author(s).