Living kidney donation benefits recipients and society but carries short-term and long-term risks for the donor. This Review summarizes the studies that underlie our current understanding of these risks in the first decade after donation, with a view to improving the informed consent process. Two studies report a higher risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among donors than among healthy nondonors; however, the absolute 15-year incidence of ESRD is <1%. All-cause mortality and the risk of cardiovascular events are similar among donors and healthy nondonors, although one study provides evidence for a 5% increase in all-cause mortality after 25 years that is attributable to donation. Some evidence suggests that the 20-year incidence of gout is slightly higher among donors than among healthy nondonors. The risks of gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia seem to be 6% higher in pregnancies among donors than in pregnancies among healthy nondonors. The incidences of acute kidney injury, kidney stones that require surgical intervention, gastrointestinal bleeding and fractures seem no higher among donors than among healthy nondonors, although some of these conclusions are based on a small number of events. Future studies must clarify the lifetime incidence of long-term outcomes, particularly in relation to a donor's age, race, and history of comorbidities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
N.N.L. is supported by the Clinical Investigator Program at Western University and by a Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program postdoctoral fellowship award. K.L.L. is supported by a grant from the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, entitled “Long-term health outcomes after live kidney donation in African Americans” (R01-DK096008). B.L.K. is supported by a grant from the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, entitled “Assessing long-term outcomes of living donation” (U01-DK066013-09). A.X.G. is supported by the Dr Adam Linton Chair in Kidney Health Analytics.
A.X.G. has received an investigator-initiated grant from Astellas Pharma and Roche to support a Canadian Institutes of Health Research study in living kidney donors, and his institution received unrestricted research funding from Pfizer. The other authors declare no competing interests.