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Kidney donation OK in long term: end-stage renal disease risk is lower among organ donors.

When kidney transplants from living donors were first performed, doctors didn't know whether living with just one kidney might cause long-term medical repercussions.

Now, researchers report in the Jan. 29 New England Journal of Medicine that people who donate a kidney have about the same probability of survival over several decades as people in the general population. And donors seem to have adequate kidney function and even less risk of severe kidney disease than occurs in the general public, Hassan Ibrahim of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and his colleagues report.

To arrive at these findings, the team pored over a database of kidney transplants performed at the University of Minnesota between 1963 and 2007 and tried to reach as many of the donors as possible. Using this data and death records from the Social Security Administration, the scientists assessed the mortality rate among 3,698 people who gave away a kidney during that time span.

The researchers also randomly selected 255 of the donors to undergo kidney function tests between 2003 and 2007. The team compared those results with tests done on a group of people who had both kidneys and who matched the donors in race, gender, body weight and age.

To be eligible to donate a kidney, a person must pass a physical examination and cannot have diabetes, high blood pressure or other serious ailments.

With that in mind, it's not surprising that kidney donors would have low mortality rates compared with people in the general population, say physicians Jane Tan and Glenn Chertow of Stanford University School of Medicine, writing in the same NEJM issue. "Nevertheless," they note, "it is somewhat surprising and quite reassuring that rates of end-stage renal disease were also lower in kidney donors than in the general population."

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Title Annotation:Body & Brain
Author:Seppa, Nathan
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 28, 2009
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