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Smoking and outcomes in kidney transplant recipients: a post hoc survival analysis of the FAVORIT trial

Authors Weinrauch LA, Claggett B, Liu J, Finn PV, Weir MR, Weiner DE, D'Elia JA

Received 28 December 2017

Accepted for publication 18 February 2018

Published 27 April 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 155—164


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Pravin Singhal

Larry A Weinrauch,1–4 Brian Claggett,1,4 Jiankang Liu,1 Peter V Finn,1 Matthew R Weir,5 Daniel E Weiner,6 John A D’Elia2–4

1Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2Kidney and Hypertension Section, Joslin Diabetes Center, 3Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, 4Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 5Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 6Division of Nephrology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

Background: Tobacco use remains an international health problem with between 10% and 40% of adults currently using tobacco. Given the rising number of patients either awaiting or having received a kidney transplant and the absence of smoking cessation as the criterion for transplantation in guidelines, we explored the association between smoking status and clinical outcomes in kidney transplant recipients.
Patients and methods: In this post hoc analysis of the Folic Acid for Vascular Outcome Reduction in Transplant trial, the associations between smoking status, defined as never having smoked, formerly or currently smoking, and both all-cause mortality and graft survival were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. Fatal events were centrally adjudicated into prespecified categories: all-cause, cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular causes. Graft loss was defined as return to dialysis or retransplantation. Clinical Trials URL:
Results: Among 4110 transplant recipients, there were 451 current smokers and 1611 former smokers. The mortality rate per 100 patient-years was 4.0 (71 deaths) for smokers, 3.5 (226 deaths) for former smokers and 2.4 (116 deaths) for never smokers. Hazard ratio for mortality for current smokers was 1.70 (CI=1.26–2.29, p=0.001) and for former smokers was 1.21 (0.98–1.50, p=0.08) with 1.0 representing never smokers. As the number of cardiovascular deaths was similar in each group (all p>0.3), the differences between groups was driven by non-cardiovascular death rates. Current smokers (2.39; 1.62–3.61, p<0.001) and former smokers (1.50; 1.12–2.01, p=0.007) had increased hazard of non-cardiovascular death. Kidney allograft failure was more likely in current smokers than in either former or never smokers (3.5, 2.1 and 2.0 per 100 patient-years, p<0.001, adjusted hazard ratio 1.49 and 1.05, respectively).
Conclusion: Continued smoking was associated with >100% increased risk of non-cardiovascular death, 70% greater risk of all-cause mortality and a 50% greater risk of graft loss, a risk not seen in former smokers. These findings confirm previous non-adjudicated observations that smoking is associated with adverse clinical outcomes and suggest that more emphasis should be placed on smoking cessation prior to kidney transplantation.

Keywords: tobacco, infection, infectious death, transplant loss, graft loss, non-cardiovascular mortality, diabetes

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