Prevalence, Risk Factors, Treatment, and Overall Impact of BK Viremia on Kidney Transplantation

Omar Malik, Sherif Saleh, B. Suleiman, B. Ashqar, A. Maibam, M. Yaseen, Amro Elrefaei, Abigail Hines, Virgilius Cornea, Amr El-Husseini, Xiaonan Mei, Roberto Gedaly, Ana Lia Castellanos, Thomas Waid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


BK viremia (BKV) is a recognized and potentially serious problem in renal transplantation. The risk factors and the impact of BKV on renal allograft and patient survival are controversial. This study reports an 8-year, single-center experience on the prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of BKV in kidney transplant recipients. This is a retrospective analysis of all patients who received a kidney transplant at the University of Kentucky and had BK viral titers available from 2009 to 2017. BKV was defined by a polymerase chain reaction viral load of ≥ 10,000 copies per mL. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data generated during routine outpatient follow up and inpatients records were collected. Independent risk factors for BKV were determined using uni- and multivariate analysis. Graft and patient survival was compared using Kaplan-Meier analysis, and the severity of polyomavirus nephropathy on biopsy was scored using the Banff 2017 classification. We identified 122 BK positive (19%) and 527 BK negative (81%) patients. BKV developed after a median of 115 days (range, 80–249 days) following kidney transplantation. The 1-, 5-, and 10-year graft survival was 97%, 75%, and 33% in the BKV group and 96%, 85%, and 71% in the BK negative group, respectively. Likewise, the 1-, 5-, and 10-year patient survival was 98%, 84%, and 52% in the BKV group and 98%, 92%, and 84% in the BK negative group. Male sex, age at transplantation, maintenance steroids, and alemtuzumab induction were associated with developing BKV in the multivariate analysis. We concluded that BKV is not uncommon after renal transplantation. The determinants for BKV are male sex, older transplant recipients, and maintenance steroids. BKV adversely affected graft and patient survival. A unified approach for BKV and polyomavirus nephropathy treatment is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1809
Number of pages9
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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