The Living Kidney Donor

The increasing prevalence of end stage renal disease (ESRD) has led to a steady growth in the kidney transplant waiting list, rapidly outpacing the availability and transplantation of organs from deceased donors. Interestingly, although overall living donation rates have remained relatively static over the last several years the one exception is a rise in the number of living non-spouse unrelated donors, including altruistic donors. The first step in addressing the disparity between the waiting list and access to living donation involves education of the public about the process of living kidney donation. It is our responsibility as a medical community to emphasize donor safety and insist upon data to support the appropriate medical counseling of donors.

In this special issue of ASN Kidney News, we address issues pertinent to donor health and safety by drawing upon the experience and knowledge of experts in the field. First, we bring you the latest trends in donor screening and advances in the donor surgical procedure. In order that physicians may better counsel potential donors, long-term outcomes in living kidney donors are discussed next. Given the disproportionately high incidence of ESRD in racial and ethnic minorities, we then review unique issues associated with the evaluation of potential donors in these vulnerable groups, with an emphasis on long-term donor health. We then discuss the appropriate follow-up of donors. It is our hope that this series will improve your understanding of living kidney donation and better equip you to counsel patients and families about living donation.



[1] Sindhu Chandran, MBBS, and David Wojciechowski, DO, editors of this special section, are assistant clinical professors of medicine in the division of nephrology at the University of California, San Francisco.

May 2013 (Vol. 5, Number 5)