Background: The aim of the study was to present the views of our kidney donors since 1964, at the time of donation, as well as later on--and to assess their current subjective health.
Methods: A total of 451 living-donor nephrectomies were performed on Swedish residents in Stockholm from April 1964 until the end of 1995. A questionnaire with 11 questions about the donation and a standardized health form (SF-36) were sent to all donors alive in 1997 (n=403).
Results: The mean age (+/-SD) of the donors was 61+/-14 years at follow-up and the time-since-donation was 12.5+/-7.7 years. The response rate was very good (92%). Current health, as assessed by form SF-36, was satisfactory. Donors scored somewhat better than those reported in a random sample of the Swedish population. The decision to donate had been easy: 86% made the decision themselves, without being pushed. Twenty-three percent thought that the nephrectomy had been troublesome. A higher percentage of young donors had felt that the postoperative period was difficult. Most donors (56%) stated that it had taken more than 2 months before they returned to a "normal" life, and 5% felt that they never completely recovered. Less than 1% of the donors regretted the donation. The commonest current medical prescription was antihypertensives (15%). The actual mean serum creatinine was 103+/-22 (range 48-219) micromol/L.
Conclusions: The results indicate that the degree of health is at least as high as in the general population. The decision to donate was easy for most of the donors, but surgery and the recovery period were troublesome and lasted longer than expected. Kidney function was acceptable.