Kidney donors have some, but not all, abnormalities typically associated with mild Chronic Kidney Disease six months after donation. These abnormalities include a decline in kidney function, increased parathyroid hormone (PTH) and uric acid levels, and lower hemoglobin levels, according to a very recent study in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Donors had 28% lower glomerular filtration rates (GFR), kidney function, which were associated with 23% greater parathyroid hormone, a regulator of phosphorus and calcium in the body. The study noted 5.4% lower serum phosphate (phosphate in the blood), 3.7% lower hemoglobin (iron protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen), 8.2% greater uric acid (waste product resulting from the metabolism) and 24% greater homocysteine (elevated levels are thought to increase the risk of heart disease). Researchers believe that "the reduction in GFR itself may explain much or all of the observed associations.”
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No significant differences were found in blood pressure, urine total protein, urine albumin (used to determine if the kidneys are functioning properly), body weight, Body Mass Index or blood sugar levels. Many studies have catalogued the risks associated with becoming a Living Donor including a decrease in GFR. However, organizations such as UK Healthcare suggest that Kidney function may decrease slightly for a short time after surgery, but within a month the remaining kidney takes over 60 percent of the removed kidney's function by increasing in size. Also, slight dietary changes to exclude or limit protein, sodium, potassium and fluid intake can help decrease complications from kidney removal and may be recommended by a donor's care team. KidneyBuzz.com suggests that perspective Kidney Transplant Recipients or Living Donors do not become discouraged by these findings. Instead equip yourself with this information to better address questions about complications upfront and avoid challenges after you have received or donated your kidney.
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Bertram L. Kasiske, MD et. al. "A Prospective Controlled Study of Kidney Donors: Baseline and 6-Month Follow-up." American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
"Kidney Donor Side Effects." LIVESTRONG.COM.
"Kidney Donors Show Signs of Mild CKD." Renal and Urology News.
"Kidney Donors Six-Months Post-Donation." Living Donors Are People Too.