A new study has revealed that while hypertension can have negative effects on the kidneys, older kidney donors with high blood pressure may have good kidney health following kidney donation. Researchers found that after removal of a kidney, the remaining healthy kidney usually does about 40% more work to compensate.
51 living kidney donors were part of the study conducted by Jane Tan, MD, PhD (Stanford University) and her colleagues. The investigators looked at the safety of kidney donation for individuals with hypertension because the condition is associated with a reduced number of nephrons, which are filtering units in the kidney that remove toxins from the blood. Each participant was subjected to a comprehensive evaluation of kidney function before and 6 months after donation.
At the time of donation, older donors with hypertension had slightly fewer functioning nephrons than similarly aged donors with normal blood pressure. However, 6 months post the surgery, hypertensive and non-hypertensive donors both maintained excellent blood pressure control and had similarly robust compensatory kidney responses.
Study author Dr. Tan said, "Overall, these short-term findings are reassuring; however, we do believe that regular post-donation medical follow-up, with an emphasis on continued good blood pressure control, is important for hypertensive kidney donors."
The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the 'Journal of the American Society of Nephrology'.