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Kidney Donors Go On to Lead Long, Healthy Lives
Date:3/9/2010

Study of more than 80,000 who gave one up shows procedure carries few risks,,

TUESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Giving a kidney carries few health risks, with donors living just as long or sometimes even longer than those who don't donate, the largest study to date of donors has found.

Using data on more than 80,000 U.S. residents who donated a kidney between 1994 and 2009, researchers found that donors lived just as long as people who were matched for age, gender, ethnic background and other health and demographic factors but who did not donate a kidney.

The average length of follow-up was more than six years, although researchers had more than 12 years of data on 10,000 donors, according to the analysis in the March 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"On average, if you compare somebody who has donated and lives with one kidney and compare them to someone just like them who lives with two kidneys, there is no increased risk of mortality," said study author Dr. Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon and director of clinical research in transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Each year, about 6,000 living donors in the United States have a kidney removed to save another. About half donate to save a blood relative, Segev said. The other half donate to a friend or loved one, such as a spouse. A small number, about 100 a year, donate a kidney to save a stranger's life, Segev said.

"People who donate kidneys are heroes," Segev said. "They take risks for the direct benefit of another person."

In the study, researchers examined data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) national registry and compared it to data on more than 9,000 participants in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

While kidney donation is very safe, it's not completely without risk, the researchers noted. Ab
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