High-level viruria as a screening tool for BK virus nephropathy in renal transplant recipients

W. James Chon*, Nidhi Aggarwal, Masha Kocherginsky, Brenna Kane, Jozefa Sutor, Michelle A. Josephson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background Although early monitoring of BK virus infection in renal transplant patients has led to improved outcomes over the past decade, it remains unclear whether monitoring for viremia is the best screening tool for BK virus nephropathy (BKVN). Methods We conducted a retrospective review of the medical records of 368 renal transplant recipients who had a minimum of 18 months of posttransplantation follow-up. The relationship between the presence of BK viruria and a composite end point of BK viremia/BKVN was established, and the predictive value of high-grade BK viruria for development of viremia/BKVN was determined. Results High grade of BK viruria was present in 110 (30.1%) of the renal transplant recipients. BK viremia/BKVN was present in 64 (17.4%) patients and was 50 times more likely to be present in patients with high-grade BK viruria. The risk of developing BK viremia/BKVN was 3 times higher in high-grade viruria patients, and viruria preceded viremia by nearly 7 weeks. Conclusion The presence of high-grade viruria is an early marker for developing BK viremia/BKVN. Detection of high-grade viruria should prompt early allograft biopsy and/or preemptive reduction in immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalKidney Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • BK virus
  • BK virus nephropathy
  • Renal transplant
  • Viruria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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