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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Estimating the long term impact of kidney donation on life expectancy and end stage renal disease

Bryce A Kiberd

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, 5082 Dickson Building, Queen Elizabeth II HSC VG site. University Ave, Nova Scotia, B3H 1V8, Canada

Transplantation Research 2013, 2:2  doi:10.1186/2047-1440-2-2

Published: 16 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Long term studies of live kidney donation do not show evidence of appreciable risks to the donor. However nephrectomy reduces total glomerular filtration rates (GFR) and is associated with increased rates of proteinuria and possibly hypertension. It is not clear to what extent these changes are associated with reduced life expectancy (LE) or increased risk of end stage renal disease (ESRD) since follow up is incomplete in most reports.

Methods

In a computer simulation model based on a US population chronic kidney disease model, increased hazard rates for higher blood pressure, proteinuria and low GFR were applied to healthy individuals undergoing donor nephrectomy. Subsequent LE and cumulative risk of ESRD were calculated.

Results

Kidney donation is projected to reduce LE by 0.83 years and increase the absolute cumulative risk of ESRD by 0.89% for a 40-year-old white male. White females were predicted to have slightly greater loss of life and less added ESRD risk. Conversely, Blacks have greater risks of ESRD after donation. Older donors with hypertension were predicted to lose less life years and lower cumulative ESRD risks than young donors. Despite these increased risks most donors will have better life expectancy and lower ESRD rates than the general population since they are a highly selected cohort.

Conclusions

This study attempts to quantify increases in death and ESRD from donor nephrectomy assuming the risk factors of hypertension, low GFR and proteinuria have the same significance in this population as in the general population. Further study is required to better estimate the risks of donation and test whether these assumptions are valid.

Keywords:
Quality of life; Nephrectomy; Live donation; End stage renal disease; Life expectancy