Long-Term Outcomes Favorable in Kidney Donors

Health status is similar to that of the general population, and quality of life is excellent
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Kidney donors are likely to enjoy excellent long-term health outcomes, with rates of survival, albuminuria and hypertension similar to those of non-donors, a preserved glomerular filtration rate, and no increased risk of end-stage renal disease, according to study findings published in the Jan. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Hassan N. Ibrahim, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues studied 3,698 subjects who donated kidneys between 1963 and 2007, at an average age of 41. From 2003 to 2007, they also assessed kidney function, hypertension prevalence, general health status and quality of life in a subgroup of 255 donors.

Compared to matched controls, the researchers found that donors had a similar life span and prevalence of coexisting conditions, higher quality-of-life scores and a lower rate of end-stage renal disease (180 cases per million persons per year versus 268 per million per year). In the subgroup of 255 donors, 85.5 percent had a glomerular filtration rate of 60 mL per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area or higher, 32.1 percent had hypertension, and 12.7 percent had albuminuria after a mean of 12.2 years following donation, the report indicates.

"Looking at all these donor characteristics, we must be cautious about extrapolating the data from the study of Ibrahim et al. to older donors, who are often spouses or loved ones of affected patients," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "If we are to expand living-donor transplantation by liberalizing the criteria for donor acceptance (i.e., allowing older persons or persons with hypertension, glucose intolerance, or other coexisting conditions to be included in a larger donor pool), we need to ensure the safety of the donors who are members of those possibly expanded populations. The data reported by Ibrahim et al. could encourage the expansion of the donor pool, but cautious optimism is warranted."

Several of the study authors disclosed receiving financial support from pharmaceutical companies.

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