Panning for gold: screening for potential live kidney donors

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2004 May;19(5):1276-80. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfh045. Epub 2004 Feb 19.


Background: Living donation is one method of addressing the gulf between supply and demand for kidney transplants. However, few manage to complete the extensive work up procedure. This study reviews the reasons for failure to complete the live donor renal assessment and suggests options, which may improve the situation.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of data collected over 5 years between 1997 and 2001 of all potential live donors entering the assessment programme.

Results: 189 (103 female, 86 male) potential donors entered the assessment process. Thirty-four (18%) actually donated comprising 17 (50%) siblings, nine (26%) parents and eight (24%) unrelated donors. Of the 155 who did not donate, 46 (30%) had blood group or immunological incompatibility and 42 (27%) withdrew. Twenty-three (15%) were medically unfit, mostly due to cardiovascular disease and 16 (10%) had insufficient renal function for safe donation.

Conclusion: Live donor transplantation offers an attractive source of high quality organs, but considerable time and effort is required to realize this. Manipulation of immunological incompatibility, psychological assessment and counselling of those likely to withdraw may significantly enhance the yield. Support should also be provided for those unable to donate for whatever reason.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Databases, Factual
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney*
  • Living Donors* / psychology
  • Living Donors* / supply & distribution*
  • Male
  • Nuclear Family
  • Social Support
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*