Kidney Donors May Not Face Higher Heart Disease
FRIDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- People who donate a kidney
don't appear to face a higher risk of developing heart disease in
the first decade following donation, new research finds.
But because a longer-term risk may still exist, the study
authors advise careful monitoring of donors for signs of cardiac
Given the established evidence of a strong association between
poor kidney function and heart disease, the study team said that
this fresh observation should provide some reassurance to
prospective donors who stand to lose half a kidney in the
The findings appear online March 2 in the journal
The team comprised researchers from Canada, Australia and the
United States. The study "adds to the available evidence base
supporting the safety of the practice amongst carefully selected
donors," the authors said in a journal news release.
For the study, Amit Garg, of the University of Western Ontario
and the London Kidney Clinical Research Unit in Ontario, Canada,
and colleagues analyzed the medical records of slightly more than
2,000 Canadian residents who had donated a kidney between 1992 and
2009. The investigators also looked at data from more than 20,000
healthy non-donors for comparison.
On average, the team tracked the cardiovascular health of the
donor population for 6.5 years, while general risk trends were
tallied for even longer.
Kidney function was reduced among the donors, the study authors
found. However, kidney donors actually appeared to run a lower risk
for death or the initial onset of a major heart complication,
compared to non-donors.
No appreciable difference was noted in the risk for a major
cardiovascular incident between donors and non-donors.
Donor age (at the time of donation) also seemed to have no
effect on heart disease risk, the investigators found. The authors
theorized that this is probably because donors, by definition, are
a relatively healthy group of people, and typically go in for
routine postoperative follow-ups.
In an accompanying editorial, Sarah White, an adjunct research
investigator at the University of Michigan, said the study "makes
an important contribution to our understanding of the long-term
consequences of living kidney donation."
For more on kidney donations, visit the
National Kidney Foundation.
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