Current screening algorithms for coronary artery disease (CAD) before kidney transplantation result in many tests but few interventions.
The aim of this study was to study the utility of 6-minute walk test (6MWT), an office-based test of cardiorespiratory fitness, for risk stratification in this setting.
We enrolled 360 patients who are near the top of the kidney transplant waitlist at our institution. All patients underwent CAD evaluation irrespective of 6MWT results. We examined the association between 6MWT and time to CAD-related events (defined as cardiac death, revascularization, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and removal from the waitlist for CAD), treating noncardiac death and waitlist removal for non-CAD reasons as competing events.
The 6MWT-based approach designated approximately 45% of patients as “low risk,” whereas a risk factor- or symptom-based approach designated 14 and 81% of patients as “low risk,” respectively. The 6MWT-based approach was not significantly associated with CAD-related events within 1 year (subproportional hazard ratio [sHR] 1.00 [0.90-1.11] per 50 m) but was significantly associated with competing events (sHR 0.70 [0.66-0.75] per 50 m). In a companion analysis, removing waitlist status from consideration, 6MWT result was associated with the development of CAD-related events (sHR 0.92 [0.84-1.00] per 50 m).
The 6MWT designates fewer patients as high risk and in need of further testing (compared to risk factor-based approaches), but its utility as a pure CAD risk stratification tool is modulated by the background waitlist removal rate. CAD screening before kidney transplant should be tailored according to a patient’s actual chance of receiving a transplant.

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.