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Living Kidney Donors at Higher Risk of Developing Hypertension
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Living Kidney Donors at Higher Risk of Developing Hypertension

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Highlights:
  • Living kidney donors have a higher risk of developing hypertension than non-donors
  • It is very important for kidney donors to control their blood pressure
  • This will avoid complications such as reduced kidney function and subsequent kidney failure


Living kidney donors are at a higher risk of developing hypertension, compared to non-donors, reveals a new study conducted by physicians at the Johns Hopkins University. Since hypertension can have deleterious effects on kidney function, it should be controlled in individuals who are kidney donors.

The study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), was led by Dr. Dorry L. Segev, MD, PhD, who is the Marjory K. and Thomas Pozefsky Professor of Surgery and Epidemiology, the Associate Vice-Chair in the Department of Surgery and the Founder and Director of the Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation (ERGOT) at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

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Living Kidney Donors at Higher Risk of Developing Hypertension

Key Features of the Study

The main features of the study are highlighted below:
  • 1,295 living kidney donors and 8,233 healthy non-donors were included in the study
  • The two groups were compared to establish whether living kidney donation was linked to a higher risk of hypertension and subsequent kidney failure
  • Prevalence hypertension in participants of different races at the 15-year mark are indicated below:
    • 8 percent of White non-donors developed hypertension
    • 9 percent of Black non-donors developed hypertension
    • 23 percent of White donors developed hypertension
    • 42 percent of Black donors developed hypertension
  • Kidney donation was linked to a 19 percent higher risk of developing hypertension after 6 years of follow-up
  • Association between kidney donation and hypertension didn't vary with race
  • Kidney function deteriorated over time in White and Black non-donors, which fell sharply if hypertension developed
  • Kidney function improved over time in White and Black kidney donors, which reached a plateau if hypertension developed

Implications of the Study - Expert Opinion

The paper was accompanied by an editorial entitled: Is hypertension following donor nephrectomy cause for elevated living donor kidney function concern? The editorial was written by Dr. William S. Asch, MD, PhD, who is an Associate Professor Term and Director of Pre-Transplant Operations at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. He indicated: "The study findings have the potential to shift the public and media's perception of the safety of living kidney donation especially when coupled with the earlier reports already indicating an increased risk of end stage renal disease (ESRD) in living donors."

Concluding Remarks

The authors of the paper concluded: "Further work is needed to identify opportunities and best practices for preventing, recognizing, and managing hypertension in living kidney donors."

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