Weight Of A Donated Kidney Is Often Overlooked But Important For Long-Term Transplant Success

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A study in Renal and Urology News suggests that Kidney Transplant recipients who receive a kidney that is heavier than their body weight have a much better chance for its long-term survival and early function. On average, kidney transplants last somewhere between 10 and 12 years. Failure is often due to  rejection (64%), renal diseases such as glomerular nephritis (18%), viruses (7%) and other events (11%). Since most patients who have received a transplant after being on dialysis report having more energy, a less restricted diet, fewer complications and an overall higher quality of life, people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) should understand as well as take every advantage available to them that will ensure long-term Kidney Transplant survival.

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While some kidneys may fail shortly after transplant, researchers found that survival rates of Kidney Transplants were highest among heavier kidneys in comparison to the recipient's weight after five years (100%) and 10 years (91.8%) of transplantation. In comparison, the lightest donated kidneys had a survival rate of 88.8% after five years and only 79.5% after 10 years. The investigators included only patients whose grafts survived for at least one year to diminish the influence of kidney failure due to early rejection.

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The average weight for a healthy human kidney is 120-140 grams. In the referenced study, donor kidney weight varied from 110 to 340 grams with a mean of 203.1 grams. The average recipient weight was 238.5 grams in the high group respectively and 200.1 grams in the study's low group. Patients were divided into three sub-groups based on their donor kidney weight to recipient weight ratio: low (less than 2.85), medium (higher than 2.85 but less than 4.04), and high (4.04 or greater). In the long-term, those with high ratios were found to have kidney survival success.  Even though a kidney transplant is major surgery with a phased recovery period in comparison to dialysis, it can offer you the opportunity for a longer and more satisfying life. KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to talk with your Transplant Team regarding all factors that can potentially increase the life span of your Kidney Transplant including weight and size of your potential kidney. 

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"Donor Kidney Weight Affects Transplant Outcomes." Renal and Urology News. 

"Kidney Disease and Transplant: Frequently Asked Questions." University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

"Understanding the Causes of Kidney Transplant Failure." Medscape.com.