Higher Risk of Death among Transplant Recipients whose Donor Smokes

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Kidney transplant recipients are at higher risk of death if their organs came from a living donor who smoked within one year prior to undergoing nephrectomy (surgical removal of a kidney).

Different transplant centers have different policies regarding smoking and living donation. Living donors may be asked to quit smoking prior to the donation, and if the person is a heavy smoker, he or she might be asked to see a pulmonary doctor to check breathing.

A retrospective study of 635 kidney transplantations involving living donors found that patients who received kidneys from smokers had a twofold increased risk of death compared with those who received kidneys from non-smokers. The researchers observed a trend toward reduced kidney survival from donors who were smokers.

Results showed that 26% of the donors who smoked within one year prior to their nephrectomy were considered active smokers. These smokers were more likely to be younger males and the non-smokers were more likely to be older women. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that smoking is an important consideration to discuss with your potential donors and healthcare transplant team.

Regarding kidney donations from smokers, transplant surgeons will only take organs that are appropriate for transplant. Therefore if you find a potential donor who has the desire to donate a kidney, then you should encourage them to go through the screening process since you have nothing to lose by doing so because at that time you can better weigh the risks.  

References:

"Transplant Patient Death Risk Higher If Donors Are Smokers." Renal and Urology News.

Recommended Reading:

What Kidney Patients can Expect During the Kidney Transplant Procedure
New Donor Source offers Relief to CKD Patients Awaiting Transplant

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