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This article is the author's final published version in JAMA Network Open, Volume 6, Issue 12, December 2023, Pages E2346314.

The published version is available at

Copyright © Kucirka LM et al.


IMPORTANCE: The incidence of pregnancy-related acute kidney injury is increasing and is associated with significant maternal morbidity including progression to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Little is known about characteristics and long-term outcomes of patients who develop pregnancy-related ESKD.

OBJECTIVES: To examine the characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients with pregnancy-related ESKD and to investigate associations between pre-ESKD nephrology care and outcomes.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This was a cohort study of 183 640 reproductive-aged women with incident ESKD between January 1, 2000, and November 20, 2020, from the US Renal Data System and maternal data from births captured in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publicly available natality data. Data were analyzed from December 2022 to June 2023.

EXPOSURE: Pregnancy-related primary cause of ESKD, per International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) and ICD-10 codes reported at ESKD onset by the primary nephrologist on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services form 2728.

MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES: Multivariable Cox proportional hazards and competing risk models were constructed to examine time to (1) mortality, (2) access to kidney transplant (joining the waiting list or receiving a live donor transplant), and (3) receipt of transplant after joining the waitlist.

RESULTS: A total of 341 patients with a pregnancy-related primary cause of ESKD were identified (mean [SD] age 30.2 [7.3]). Compared with the general US birthing population, Black patients were overrepresented among those with pregnancy-related ESKD (109 patients [31.9%] vs 585 268 patients [16.2%]). In adjusted analyses, patients with pregnancy-related ESKD had similar or lower hazards of mortality compared with those with glomerulonephritis or cystic kidney disease (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.96; 95% CI, 0.76-1.19), diabetes or hypertension (aHR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.39-0.61), or other or unknown primary causes of ESKD (aHR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.48-0.75). Despite this, patients with pregnancy-related ESKD had significantly lower access to kidney transplant compared with those with other causes of ESKD, including (1) glomerulonephritis or cystic kidney disease (adjusted subhazard ratio [aSHR], 0.51; 95% CI, 0.43-0.66), (2) diabetes or hypertension (aSHR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.67-0.98), and (3) other or unkown cause (aSHR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67-0.99). Those with pregnancy-related ESKD were less likely to have nephrology care or have a graft or arteriovenous fistula placed before ESKD onset (nephrology care: adjusted relative risk [aRR], 0.47; 95% CI, 0.40-0.56; graft or arteriovenous fistula placed: aRR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.17-0.57).

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: In this study, those with pregnancy-related ESKD had reduced access to transplant and nephrology care, which could exacerbate existing disparities in a disproportionately Black population. Increased access to care could improve quality of life and health outcomes among these young adults with high potential for long-term survival.

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