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Kidney Donations Safe For Healthy Older Adults: Study

Update Date: Jul 09, 2014 08:51 AM EDT

Older kidney donors also enjoy the same longevity and cardiovascular health as other healthy mature individuals, according to a new study.

The findings of the study would provide some reassurance to older individuals who are considering donation. 

Researchers matched 3368 older donors 1:1 to older healthy non-donors and followed them for a median of 7.8 years. They found no remarkable difference in the mortality rates of donors and matched pairs. Donors also did not have an elevated risk of diabetes - a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney diseases - compared with matched non-donors. 

"For too long, when we counseled older people who were considering kidney donation, we were not able to give them good information about their future risk of heart disease. The problem was that prior studies that examined cardiovascular outcomes did not have many older donors," Peter Reese, MD, MSCE, assistant professor of Medicine in Renal- Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, and director of Kidney Transplant Outcomes Clinical Research at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a press release. 

"Now we have a reassuring answer. Transplant centers everywhere should provide this new information to older individuals considering kidney donation. These individuals should learn that donation is unlikely to increase their risk of death or heart disease in a meaningful way."

The study has been published in the American Journal of Transplantation. 

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