WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 28, 2009 -- Giving up a kidney doesn’t reduce survival rates of donors,
a new study says.
What’s more, a report in the Jan. 29 edition of the New England Journal
of Medicine says the risk of end-stage renal disease is not increased in
The researchers, headed by Hassan N. Ibrahim, MD, of the University of
Minnesota, analyzed the records of 3,698 kidney donors who donated from 1963 to
2007, assessing risk of developing end-stage renal disease. They also examined
the health status and quality of life in a subgroup of 255 donors. The
researchers found that the life expectancy of donors is similar to that of
non-donors, or possibly even longer; and donors don’t have an excessive risk of
developing end-stage renal disease.
In the study, end-stage renal failure developed in 11 people, which would
translate to a rate of 180 cases per million people per year. In the general
population, the rate would be 268 cases per million per year.
“Most donors had quality of life scores that were better than population
norms,” the authors write.
Also, the prevalence of coexisting conditions occurring after donation was
similar to that among people in a non-donor comparison group, the article
Kidney transplantation from living donors is the treatment of choice for
people with end-stage renal disease.
Jane C. Tan, MD, and Glenn Chertow, MD, of the Stanford University School of
Medicine, say in an accompanying editorial that the findings of the Ibrahim
study are impressive, given the number of people studied. But the results, they
say, weren’t surprising because the people who donated kidneys would be in
better shape than others in the general population.
Kidney donors, they say, must pass stringent evaluations before being
allowed to donate.
Ibrahim says he received consulting fees from the Chronic Disease Research
Group in Minneapolis and served on an advisory board for the pharmaceutical
company Roche. Several others involved in the study reported receiving fees
from drug companies.
SOURCE:Ibrahim, H. New England Journal of Medicine, Jan. 29, 2009; vol 360:
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