NEW YORK — Donating a kidney doesn't appear to have any long-term health consequences for the donor, a reassuring study shows.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota found those who gave up one of their two kidneys lived a normal life span and were as healthy as people in the general population. The donation also didn't raise the risk of having kidney failure later.
Kidney donation has generally been considered safe, although with surgery, there are always risks. The new research of nearly 3,700 donors dating back more than four decades is the largest and longest study to look at long-term outcomes, said the researchers. They reported their findings in today's New England Journal of Medicine.
Living donation has increased as more people became willing to donate and newer surgery techniques shortened recovery time. In 2007, more than a third of the 16,629 kidneys transplanted in the United States came from living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
Dr. Hassan Ibrahim, the study's leader, and his colleagues wanted to find out what happened to the 3,698 people who had donated a kidney at the university since 1963.
Most of the donors tested had good kidney function and reported an excellent quality of life, the study found.