Remote monitoring using donor-derived, cell-free dna after kidney transplantation during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

Steven R. Potter, Randall Hinojosa, Cliff D. Miles, Dan O’brien, David J. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Donor-derived, cell-free DNA (dd-cfDNA) level correlates with allograft injury with clinical validity and utility for quiescence and active acute rejection (AR) in kidney transplant recipients. We analyzed trends in dd-cfDNA level immediately preceding and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with implemented “shelter in place” and a tele-health strategy with remote home phlebotomy to limit COVID-19 exposure. Methods: During COVID-19 in the United States (US), we surveyed weekly (January 6, 2020-May 25, 2020) metrics for dd-cfDNA corresponding to both a low risk for active rejection (dd-cfDNA < 0.5%) and cohorts with indeterminate levels of 0.5% to 1.0% and > 1.0%. During the study timeframe, over 11,000 patient samples (67%) from 150 kidney transplantation centers were transitioned from standard facility-based to remote phlebotomy. Results: The proportion of dd-cfDNA samples, analyzed in 21 weekly aggregated cohorts by risk-stratification category, was unchanged during the COVID-19 escalation in the US. Linearized slopes for numbers of samples corresponding to indeterminate risk for AR cohorts of > 1.0% and 0.5% to 1.0% were-0.31 and-0.12, respectively; indicating that prevalence of these “at risk for AR cohorts” decreased during remote surveillance. Approximately 73% of samples corresponded to low risk of AR (dd-cfDNA < 0.5%), while an additional 15% of samples had dd-cfDNA level ≤ 1.0%. Conclusion: The combination of remote home phlebotomy including dd-cfDNA analysis and a tele-health program offer a new paradigm that may substantially improve patient compliance and assuage anxiety regarding the state of kidney allograft health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further prospective multi-center studies with robust outcomes data are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalKidney Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Biomarker
  • COVID-19
  • Cell-free nucleic acids
  • Donor-derived DNA
  • Kidney transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Remote monitoring using donor-derived, cell-free dna after kidney transplantation during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this