Women health

 Reasons not to donate a kidney

Mon, JAN. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Although donating a kidney is unlikely to take your life or increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes, a new study reveals that you may face an increased risk of some other health issues.

Scientists discovered that donors appear to be at higher risk for poor blood pressure and renal function than non-donors after reviewing earlier studies including over 100,000 living kidney donors. Female donors were also nearly twice as likely to develop pregnancy-related problems such as preeclampsia.

"The study stresses the minimal but actual dangers of live kidney donation, as well as the significance of careful assessment and guidance for all living kidney donors," the author of the study Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio stated.

"Whereas this systematic study... gives some significant answers," Di Angelantonio continued, "this same field is still a long way from delivering precise risk estimations to potential donors."

At the University of Cambridge in England, he oversees the National Institute for Health Research's Blood & Transplant Unit in Donor Health as well as Genomics.

According to U.S. Government Database on Organ Donation and Transplantation, more than 19,000 kidney donations were conducted in the United States in 2016, the most recent numbers available. A living donor accounts for around one-fifth of all organ donations.

However, patients on the national watchlist for kidney transplants account for approximately 83 percent of all transplant candidates, and 20 individuals die every day while waiting for an organ transplant.

To analyze the mid-and long-term health problems associated with living kidney donation, Di Angelantonio & his colleagues went among 52 published papers comparing and over 118,400 living kidney donors from only over 117,600 non-donors. Participants were followed up for a mean of one to 24 years.

Although kidney donors had greater diastolic blood pressure (the lower amount of a reading indicating blood pressure during heartbeats) and a higher risk of end-stage kidney disease, their other key risk profiles were equal to non-donors. There was just no evidence that donors were more likely to die, develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or have a lower quality of life.

The findings were published online on January 30 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Peter Reese, who co-wrote an associated editorial, lauded the study as "authoritative" because it "helps bring together studies undertaken in different nations and at different times."

"It is indeed safe to say that we now know a lot as to what happens to kidney donors in the first 10 years after donation," added Reese, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Clinic.

"As a result, I'm more concerned with young kidney donors — say, those under the age of 25," he noted. "If someone donated now, they would have had many years to live with one kidney but may have a difficult time anticipating one day when their health might not be as robust as it is now."

According to Reese, living kidney donors can do a lot to reduce their short & long health risks after donation. Exercise, weight control, and regular monitoring of blood pressure are examples of such measures.

"Ignoring cigarettes, as well as other parts of a healthy lifestyle," Reese stated. "Research knows that kidney health is heavily influenced by lifestyle choices and effective control of risk factors such as blood pressure."

S. John Swanson, MD, is the chief of transplant surgery at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware. According to him, the bottom line of the new study is that it validates the perceived safety of living kidney donation as long as suitable screening techniques and informed permission are achieved.

"Our study is essential as we try to determine the best way to warn our donors about potential danger and provide as truly informed consent as practicable," said Swanson, who was not involved in the new research.

"This same benefits of living donation to the receiver are enormous in terms of timeliness, survival, and organ quality," he said, adding that "you should always keep an eye on shielding the donor from both short and the long risk."

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