Obesity increases the risk of end-stage renal disease among living kidney donors

Kidney Int. 2017 Mar;91(3):699-703. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.10.014. Epub 2016 Dec 29.


Determining candidacy for live kidney donation among obese individuals remains challenging. Among healthy non-donors, body mass index (BMI) above 30 is associated with a 16% increase in risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). However, the impact on the ESRD risk attributable to donation and living with only one kidney remains unknown. Here we studied the risk of ESRD associated with obesity at the time of donation among 119 769 live kidney donors in the United States. Maximum follow-up was 20 years. Obese (BMI above 30) live kidney donors were more likely male, African American, and had higher blood pressure. Estimated risk of ESRD 20 years after donation was 93.9 per 10 000 for obese; significantly greater than the 39.7 per 10 000 for non-obese live kidney donors. Adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, blood pressure, baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate, and relationship to recipient, obese live kidney donors had a significant 86% increased risk of ESRD compared to their non-obese counterparts (adjusted hazard ratio 1.86; 95% confidence interval 1.05-3.30). For each unit increase in BMI above 27 kg/m2 there was an associated significant 7% increase in ESRD risk (1.07, 1.02-1.12). The impact of obesity on ESRD risk was similar for male and female donors, African American and Caucasian donors, and across the baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate spectrum. These findings may help to inform selection criteria and discussions with persons considering living kidney donation.

Keywords: end-stage renal disease (ESRD); kidney transplantation; living kidney donation; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Body Mass Index
  • Donor Selection*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / adverse effects*
  • Nephrectomy / mortality
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology