Monday, December 14, 2009

Risks of Living With One Kidney - Similar to Living with Two

Researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine that people who donate a kidney have about the same probability of survival over several decades as people in the general population. And donors seem to have adequate kidney function and even less risk of severe kidney disease than occurs in the general public.

Researchers pored over a database of kidney transplants performed at the University of Minnesota between 1963 and 2007. Using this data and death records from the Social Security Administration, the scientists were able to asses the mortality rate among 3,698 people who gave away a kidney within that time span.

The survival curves of these donors and the general public are close, even favoring the donors slightly. And the rate of end-stage renal disease, which necessitates dialysis and can put a person on a waiting list for a new kidney, was lower among the donors than in the general population. “We got a vivid proof that the donation of vital organs is absolutely safe”, – said Dr. Matthew Cooper, a transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland, who did not participate in the study.

It was somewhat surprising to the researchers, and quite reassuring that rates of end-stage renal disease were also lower in kidney donors than in the general population.

Are you concerned about being a kidney donor...or for someone that is offering to donate? Do you have some other questions about being a donor?

Harvey Mysel is a kidney transplant recipient and Founder of the Living Kidney Donors Network, a nonprofit organization that offers Workshops to educate people in need of a kidney transplant about living kidney donation and helps prepare them to effectively communicate their need to family members and friends. The Living Kidney Donors Network website is: and Harvey could be reached at:

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