Changes in kidney function follow living donor nephrectomy Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Better understanding of kidney function after living donor nephrectomy and how it differs by donor characteristics can inform patient selection, counselling, and follow-up care. To evaluate this, we conducted a retrospective matched cohort study of living kidney donors in Alberta, Canada between 2002-2016, using linked healthcare administrative databases. We matched 604 donors to 2,414 healthy non-donors from the general population based on age, sex, year of cohort entry, urban residence and the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) before cohort entry (nephrectomy date for donors and randomly assigned date for non-donors). The primary outcome was the rate of eGFR change over time (median follow-up seven years; maximum 15 years). The median age of the cohort was 43 years, 64% women, and the baseline (pre-donation) eGFR was 100 mL/min/1.73 m2. Overall, from six weeks onwards, the eGFR increased by +0.35 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year (95% confidence interval +0.21 to +0.48) in donors and significantly decreased by -0.85 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year (-0.94 to -0.75) in the matched healthy non-donors. The change in eGFR between six weeks to two years, two to five years, and over five years among donors was +1.06, +0.64, and -0.06 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year, respectively. In contrast to the steady age-related decline in kidney function in non-donors, post-donation kidney function on average initially increased by 1 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year attributable to glomerular hyperfiltration, which began to plateau by five years post-donation. Thus, the average change in eGFR over time is significantly different between donors and non-donors.


  • Lam, Ngan N
  • Lloyd, Anita
  • Lentine, Krista L
  • Quinn, Robert R
  • Ravani, Pietro
  • Hemmelgarn, Brenda R
  • Klarenbach, Scott
  • Garg, Amit

publication date

  • July 2020