Living Kidney Donor Study

Living Kidney Donor Study Transplantation is the preferred treatment option for patients with kidney failure. Compared to dialysis, patients who receive a transplant have a substantial reduction in the risk of death, an improved quality of life, and decreased health care costs. The demand for kidneys has resulted in long waiting lists for deceased donor kidneys. Therefore, living kidney donations have been on the increase over the years in order to meet this demand for kidneys. Living donation also has the added benefit of a shorter waiting time, increased graft success and increased recipient survival compared to deceased donor transplantation.

Aside from the advantages for the recipient, living transplantation is a complex medical practice which we must conduct in a safe and ethical manner. The premise for accepting living donors is that the “minimal” risk of short and long-term medical harm realized by the donor is outweighed by the definite advantages to the recipient and potential psychosocial benefits of altruism to the donor.
The short-term potential medical consequences for living kidney donors have been well established. Yet, the long-term implications of living kidney donation are far less certain. Potential medical risks include hypertension, proteinuria, reduced kidney function, premature cardiovascular disease and death. Estimates of these outcomes vary substantially in the literature. As well, the potential long-term medical risks are also communicated inconsistently across transplant community. It is accepted that most living donors experience increased self-esteem, feelings of well-being and an improved quality of life after their altruistic act. However, some donors have negative psychosocial outcomes which require further clarification. There is also a financial burden to the donor from the donation process. Concerns about future life, disability and medical insurance have been raised. These issues will be addressed through this research study on the long term implications of donation.

The aims of this definitive study are to:

  1. Estimate the long-term medical risks of donating a kidney.
  2. Clarify the true psychological costs and benefits for donors. Identify risk factors for donors who need additional psychological counseling and follow-up will also be considered.
  3. Accurately understand and quantify the expenses incurred by living donors.

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