Age Doesn't Matter in Kidney Swaps

Kidney transplant survival barely affected by age of living donor

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Unlike other organ transplantations, kidney transplants can come from living donors. At first, you might kidney recipients would do better with a younger kidney. But, it seems a kidney donor's age makes little difference.

The age of a living kidney donor has little impact on the survival of the transplanted organ, unless the recipient is younger than 39 years of age.

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Kidney recipients who are between 18 and 39 years of age, on the other hand, seem to do better if they get a new kidney from someone in the same age group, according to recent findings by John Gill, M.D., of the University of British Columbia, and colleagues.

In many cases, patients with kidney failure get a new kidney from one of their family members. However, if no relative is compatible with the patient, family members can donate their kidney to a stranger. In exchange, the original patient gets a new kidney from a different donor.

In a world where patients have to wait years for a new kidney, these living donor paired-exchange programs, or kidney swaps, can give patients a new chance at a life they otherwise might not have.

For their study, Dr. Gill and colleagues looked at data from all living donor kidney transplants among adults between 1988 and 2003.

The researchers found that the living donor's age made little difference in the health of the donated organ.

Even though kidney swap programs have provided patients with greater access to life-saving organs, there are still thousands of people waiting for a kidney transplant.

The results of this study could persuade more people to take part in kidney swap programs.

The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 4, 2012
Last Updated:
April 4, 2012