Donating a kidney is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. It involves major surgery and carries risks such as bleeding and infection. However, the vast majority of kidney donors recover with minimal complications. After the nephrectomy, donors usually only spend one night in the hospital and complete their recovery at home.
The long-term renal consequences of kidney donation by a living donor are arousing increasing interest. Studies suggest that living kidney donors have a survival similar to that of non-donors and that their risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) does not increase. However, some donors have reported long-term problems with pain, nerve damage, hernias, or intestinal obstruction. These risks appear to be rare, but there are currently no national statistics on the frequency of these problems.Before donating an organ, it is important to consider the future consequences for the overall health and well-being of the donor.
Studies do not indicate a significant long-term risk for the donor, but there may be a slightly higher risk of developing high blood pressure, usually in donors over the age of 55 at the time of donation. There is also a very small risk of developing kidney failure, which is usually related to the development of a kidney disease that was not present or expected at the time of the donation and is not directly related to the kidney donation itself.In general, kidney donation has minimal long-term risks, especially when compared to health risks for the general population. The prevalence of hypertension and albuminuria in kidney donors was similar to those in controls, even two decades after donation. Advances in surgical techniques have drastically improved the cosmetic outcome following live kidney donation.To date, 38 donors who had donated a kidney 11.7 ± 7.7 years ago have undergone two GFR measurements with iohexol.
In 55 donors who had donated a kidney more than 20 years earlier, the serum creatinine level was 1.1±0.2 mg per deciliter (93 ± 20 µmol per liter), and the iohexole GFR was 74.0±13.8 ml per minute by 1.73 m2.A similar analysis was performed among donors who had donated one more kidney 20 years old before to compare those whose GFR was measured (55 donors) with those whose GFR was not measured, but for whom laboratory results and health status updates were available (1035 donors).Publications over the past decade have increased knowledge about the long-term risks of kidney donation. Reese said that living kidney donors can do a lot to minimize their short- and long-term health risks after donation. In conclusion, donating a kidney is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. While studies do not indicate a significant long-term risk for the donor, there may be a slightly higher risk of developing high blood pressure or even kidney failure in some cases.
However, advances in surgical techniques have drastically improved the cosmetic outcome following live kidney donation and overall, donating has minimal long-term risks.