An article entitled “Kidney Donors Not at Higher Risk of Needing Acute Dialysis” showed up in my google alert today.
Read the press release – er, neutral media coverage – here.
Here was my response (if they so choose to publish my comment):
This is a worthless study meant to do nothing but further the misconception that living kidney donation is safe.
According to OPTN’s own data, more than 300 living kidney donors have been wait listed since 1994 in need of their own kidney transplant. From the few studies done on LKDs diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, we know the time from donation to be anywhere from 13-21 years. In addition, Kido (2009) noted that ESRD developed irrespective of pre-donation kidney function, or presence/absence of risk factors such as proteinuria, hypertension or diabetes.
A living kidney donor’s biggest long-term risk isn’t kidney failure, but cardiovascular disease. According to one study, five years after a nephrectomy (kidney removal), patients had a 25% increased risk of cardiac death. According to another, most patients in the early stage of chronic kidney disease (including kidney donors) do not progress to end-stage renal disease because they die of a cardiac event first.
Ron Herrick, the first living kidney donor, had a stroke in 2002, spent the last decade of his life on dialysis, and died following cardiac surgery in 2010. It’s past time we stop misrepresenting the risk of living kidney donation. The public are not medical supply. Living donors are people too.
For more info on LKDs wait listed for a kidney transplant:
For more on LKDs and cardiac risk: