Study examines health of kidney donors

The short-term risks associated with kidney donation are relatively modest, but because many donors have additional medical conditions, it is important to evaluate their ongoing health. That's the conclusion of a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

In more than a third of kidney transplantations performed in the United States, the transplanted organs come from live donors. Research suggests that there are minimal for donors, but only a few comprehensive studies have looked at this issue.

To evaluate trends in the illnesses and complications experienced by donors, Jesse Schold, PhD (Cleveland Clinic) and his colleagues studied the health of more than 69,000 donors from 1998 to 2010, representing 89% of US donors from that time.

Among the major findings:

  • Complications declined over time, from 10.1% in 1998 to 7.6% in 2010.
  • Hospital length-of-stay following donation declined over time, from an average of 3.7 days in 1998 to 2.5 days in 2010.
  • Rates of complications and length-of-stay for donors were comparable with other relatively low risk abdominal surgeries such as appendectomies.
  • Depression, , , and obesity increased over time.

"We were able to characterize certain patient characteristics and outcomes that are not available from standard transplant registries," said Dr. Schold. "The data provide important information about the incidence and impact of pre-existing comorbidities among living donors that are not broadly known."

The authors noted that while their data confirm that short-term risks associated with donation are relatively modest, the long-term impact of complications and additional may be important to evaluate in the coming years.

In an accompanying editorial, Krista Lentine, MD, PhD (Saint Louis University School of Medicine) and Dorry Segev, MD (Johns Hopkins University) stated that "this study provides valuable information that, when framed in the context of its limitations, can be used to advance the counseling and informed consent of living donors; centers can also use this information to guide their own quality assessment and process improvement benchmarking for outcomes." They noted that additional studies are needed, however. "Ultimately, by improving understanding of the short- and long-term health outcomes among representative, diverse samples of , the transplant community can meaningfully improve the processes of consent, selection, and care that are vital priorities," they wrote.

More information: The article, entitled "Comorbidity Burden and Perioperative Complications for Living Kidney Donors in the United States," will appear online on September 26, 2013, DOI: 10.2215/CJN12311212

The editorial, entitled "Better Understanding Live Donor Risk through Big Data," will appear online on September 26, 2013, DOI: 10.2215/CJN.08530813

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Never too old to donate a kidney?

Oct 28, 2011

People over age 70 years of age can safely donate a kidney, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The results provide good news for patients ...

QoL up for live liver donors versus general population

Nov 06, 2012

(HealthDay)—Living liver donors from Japan have higher health-related quality of life (HRQOL) than the Japanese norm population, according to a study published in the November issue of Liver Transplantation.

HTN risk up for african-american live kidney donors

Nov 06, 2012

(HealthDay)—African-American live kidney donors have a significantly increased risk of hypertension compared with non-donors, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in the American Journal of Tr ...

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

User comments