A recent paper in JAMA suggests that living donors live normal lives and have good long term survival. Live donors were drawn from a registry and donors between 1984 and 2009 were studied. A matched cohort of non donors was used for comparison. Surgical mortality was 3.1per 10,000 donors and did not change during the last 15 years. The long term mortality risk was no higher in live donors than randomly matched participants matched with age and comorbidities. The median follow up was only 6.3 years, which is long but is it too short for a donor? That we don't know. Physiologic changes do happen in patients when they donate to the other kidney. These findings suggest that epidiemiologically there is no major difference in outcomes to other non donors in the community.
This is one of the largest studies of donors and takes a long period into consideration. It also has a good sample size. Shorter follow up is a major limitation, besides it being a retrospective evaluation.
At least from this study and the recent one in NEJM linked below, long term outcomes of kidney donors are excellent.
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