Background: The growing shortage of organs available for transplantation has resulted in an increased use of living donors for kidney transplantation. The laparoscopic nephrectomy is a new procedure used to remove kidneys from donors. The study objective was to explore the attitudes of recipients and donors toward living donor kidney transplantation and the impact of the laparoscopic donor nephrectomy on donors' and recipients' acceptance of living donor kidney transplantation.
Methods: Tailored self-administered questionnaires were mailed to kidney donors, potential donors, recipients and potential recipients who visited the University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Transplantation between January 1998 and May 2001.
Results: The laparoscopic donor nephrectomy helped recipients and potential recipients with their decision to accept a kidney from a living donor (recipients: 53% strongly agreed, 36% agreed; potential recipients: 42% strongly agreed, 46% agreed). To a lesser extent, the laparoscopic donor nephrectomy assisted donors and potential donors with their decision to donate (donors: 19% strongly agreed, 20% agreed; potential donors: 20% strongly agreed, 20% agreed). Potential recipients and recipients identified 2 barriers to accepting living donor kidney transplantation: they were unwilling to accept a kidney if it meant this would financially burden their donors, and they worried that their donors might succumb to a future kidney problem.
Conclusion: Overall, the study found a positive attitude toward living donor kidney transplantation and laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. This new surgical procedure seemed to positively influence recipients and potential recipients to accept a kidney. In contrast, it had less impact on donors' and potential donors' willingness to give their kidney.