Economic and ethical impact of extrarenal findings on potential living kidney donor assessment with computed tomography angiography

Transpl Int. 2007 Apr;20(4):338-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2006.00443.x.


To determine the prevalence and spectrum of extrarenal findings in a screening population of potential living kidney donors undergoing renal Computed tomography angiography (CTA) and evaluate their impact on subsequent patient management and imaging costs. Two radiologists retrospectively reviewed 175 consecutive renal CTA's performed for assessment of potential living kidney donors. Extrarenal radiological findings were recorded and classified according to high, medium, or low importance based on clinical relevance and the need for further investigations and/or treatment. The cost of additional imaging examinations was calculated using 2002 Canadian (British Columbia) reimbursements. There were 73 extrarenal findings in 71/175 (40.6%) of the potential kidney donors in the study population. Findings were categorized as of high clinical importance in 18 (10.3%) cases, including lung lesions, bowel tumors, and liver tumors and as medium importance in 31 (17.7%). Twenty-two (12.6%) individuals had findings categorized as low importance, probably of no clinical significance and requiring no follow-up. Further potential evaluation of the 49 patients (28%) with highly and moderately significant extrarenal findings may require an additional $6137 (mean $35.1 per each case of all the screened patients). Transplantation of a kidney from a living donor is an excellent alternative to cadaveric allografts. Potential living kidney donors are a highly selected population of healthy individuals, screened for significant past or current medical conditions before undergoing CTA. Despite this screening, potentially significant extrarenal findings (classified as high or medium importance) were revealed in 28% of patients. These patients may require further investigations and/or treatment. The referring physician and patient should be aware of such potentially high probability, which may require further nontransplant related evaluation and treatment. This has medical, legal, economic, and ethical implications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiography / methods*
  • Donor Selection / economics*
  • Donor Selection / ethics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings*
  • Kidney Transplantation / economics*
  • Kidney Transplantation / ethics*
  • Living Donors / ethics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*