Pediatric Nephrology

, 25:155 | Cite as

Outcomes of kidney transplant tourism in children: a single center experience

  • Abdul Majid
  • Lina Al Khalidi
  • Bushra Q. Ahmed
  • Gerhard Opelz
  • Franz Schaefer
Original Article


Transplant tourism is a necessity for children with end-stage renal disease living in regions without established local transplantation programs. The use of kidneys from living unrelated donors (LURDs) was common practice in Asia prior to the recent global condemnation of commercial organ transplantation. Objective information on the outcomes of pediatric transplant tourism is scarce. Here, we report the Dubai experience with 45 renal allograft transplantations performed outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between 1993 and 2009. Transplantation from 33 LURDs, ten living related donors (LRDs) and two deceased donors was performed in 14 different countries. The mean number of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) A/B/DR allele matches was 1.4 ± 0.8 in the LURD graft recipients and 3.9 ± 0.7 in the LRD recipients. Outcomes were compared with those of a matched group of 3,150 pediatric LRD transplantations from the Collaborative Transplant Study (CTS). Ten-year patient survival was 100% in the LRD patients, 91.2% in the LURD patients, and 92% in the CTS patients. The three deaths in the LURD group occurred within the first 4 months after transplantation and were related to acute rejection. One-year and 10-year graft survival was 100% in the LRD group and 94.8% and 66.7% in the CTS-LRD groups, vs 87.8% and 43.4% in the LURD group. Major viral infections [Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), varicella zoster (VZV)] were four-times more common in patients that had received LURD grafts than in those that had received LRD grafts. In conclusion, whereas LRD kidney transplantation performed abroad yields excellent long-term results, transplantation of LURD kidneys is fraught with a high complication rate affecting graft and even early patient survival.


Commercial organ transplantation Living related Living unrelated Pediatric kidney transplantation Developing world Living unrelated donation Transplant tourism Developing countries Global pediatric nephrology 


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Copyright information

© IPNA 2009 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdul Majid
    • 1
  • Lina Al Khalidi
    • 1
  • Bushra Q. Ahmed
    • 1
  • Gerhard Opelz
    • 2
  • Franz Schaefer
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric NephrologyDubai HospitalDubaiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Division of Transplantation ImmunologyHeidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Division of Pediatric NephrologyCenter for Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineHeidelbergGermany

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