Introduction: Routine placement of surgical drains at the time of kidney transplant has been debated in terms of its prognostic value. Objectives: To determine whether the placement of a surgical drain affects the incidence rate of developing wound complications and other clinical outcomes, particularly after controlling for other prognostic factors. Methods: Retrospective analysis of 500 consecutive renal transplant cases who did not (Drain-free, DF) vs. did (Drain, D) receive a drain at the time of transplant was performed. The primary outcome was the development of any wound complication (superficial or deep) during the first 12 months post-transplant. Secondary outcomes included the development of superficial wound complications, deep wound complications, DGF, and graft loss during the first 12 months post-transplant. Results: 388 and 112 recipients had DF/D, respectively. DF-recipients were significantly more likely to be younger, not have pre-transplant diabetes, receive a living donor kidney, receive a kidney-alone transplant, have a shorter duration of dialysis, shorter mean cold-ischemia-time, and greater pre-transplant use of anticoagulants/antiplatelets. Wound complications were 4.6% (18/388) vs. 5.4% (6/112) in DF vs. D groups, respectively (P = 0.75). Superficial wound complications were observed in 0.8% (3/388) vs. 0.0% (0/112) in DF vs. D groups, respectively (P = 0.35). Deep wound complications were observed in 4.1% (16/388) vs. 5.4% ((6/112) in DF vs. D groups, respectively (P = 0.57). Higher recipient body mass index and ≥ 1 year of pre-transplant dialysis were associated in multivariable analysis with an increased incidence of wound complications. Once the prognostic influence of these 2 factors were controlled, there was still no notable effect of drain use (yes/no). The lack of prognostic effect of drain use was similarly observed for the other clinical outcomes. Conclusions: In a relatively large cohort of renal transplant recipients, routine surgical drain use appears to offer no distinct prognostic advantage.
- Kidney transplant
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