Kidney donors face higher risks years after procedure: study
By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/MCT
February 17, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- For the roughly 6,000 people each year who give up a kidney to someone in need of a transplant in the United States, a new study finds that generosity may come at a price: a roughly tenfold increased risk of kidney failure in the 15 years following their donation.
That increased risk, however, tells only half the story — and not, depending on how you look at things, the more important half.
In the 15 years after he or she goes under the knife, a live kidney donor has a 0.3 percent likelihood of developing end-stage kidney disease requiring chronic dialysis or a transplant, researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found. While that is higher than the .04 percent probability he or she would have had as a nondonor, the fact is that kidney failure remains a highly improbable outcome.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to assess the absolute risk a kidney donor faces after the operation and the added risk he or she incurs as a result of it. It comes at a time when the gap between those needing a kidney transplant and the availability of the organs is vast: About 93,000 Americans are awaiting an available kidney, and most will wait at least five years before a kidney from a deceased donor becomes available.