Background: Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The number of patients on the waiting list is increasing due to an imbalance between organ supply and demand. This has led to an increase in the number of living donor transplants in most parts of the world. The benefits to the recipients must, however, be weighed against the risks to the donors. Long-term follow-up of the donors is therefore imperative to ascertain the risks of living kidney donation.
Materials and methods: We reviewed the records of 571 potential living kidney donors (PLDs) in Johannesburg hospital over a 16-year period between 1990 and 2005.
Results: There were 1030 kidney transplants during this period, with 800 cadaveric and 230 actual living donor (ALD) transplants. There were 571 PLDs; however, 341 (59.7%) withdrew or were withdrawn because of medical and non-medical reasons. Among the 230 ALDs, the mean age of the donors was 35.2 ± 8.3 years; 55% were females; 24% were Blacks. Eighty-five percent were related to the recipients while 15% were unrelated. Mean duration of follow-up was 8.6 ± 6.4 years. The pattern of post-donation follow-up was excellent in 29.7%, adequate in 34% and unacceptable/poor in 36.3%, based on the number of clinic visits post-donation. Hypertension was noted in 24% of the donors during long-term follow-up. Three of the donors also developed significant microalbuminuria.
Conclusion: There is a need to encourage living kidney donation, especially amongst the Black populations, and to emphasize the value and significance of post-donation follow-up visits to all potential donors.