Living Donor Research Living Donor Risks Living Kidney Donor

Kidney Donors Kidneys Not ‘Recovering’ as Well as Initially Thought

At one year post-nephrectomy, 131 (78%) donors had a 25% or greater increase in plasma creatinine, 27% had a 50% or greater increase, and 31% had a 0.4 mg/dL or greater increase in plasma creatinine compared with their pre-donation values.


Creatinine is a by product of muscle metabolism. It’s also the main indicator of renal (kidney) health. If kidney function is compromised, the creatinine level rises. This creatinine clearance is used to formulate GFR (glomulerular filtration rate, aka kidney function).

A normal result is 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL for men and 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL for women. [note: men generally have more muscle mass than women, hence the higher creatinine clearance]


…said Julie Lin, MD, MPH, FASN, senior author of this study. “We were surprised to find that relatively high proportions of donors met established clinical definitions for lower kidney function whereas the general expectation has been for higher levels of recovery at one year.


For nearly sixty years, the transplant industry has been making assumptions about living kidney donor’s post-nephrectomy renal function, and gathering no data. Now that someone has bothered to look, they’re surprised we’re not ‘recovering’ as well as they ‘expected’. Not exactly the most rigorous scientific method.


Just a reminder: see your physician once a year and have a complete renal system work-up.


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