Assessment of Glomerular Filtration Rate and End-Stage Kidney Disease Risk in Living Kidney Donor Candidates: A Paradigm for Evaluation, Selection, and Counseling

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018 Jan;25(1):21-30. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2017.09.002.


Living donor kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment option for ESRD. However, recent data suggest a small increase in the long-term risk of kidney failure in living kidney donors when compared to healthy nondonors. These data have led to a need for reconsideration of how donor candidates are evaluated and selected for donation. A Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) work group completed a comprehensive clinical practice guideline for evaluation of living kidney donor candidates in 2017, based on systematic evidence review, de novo evidence generation, and expert opinion. Central to the evaluation framework is assessment of glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is used to screen for kidney disease and aid the prediction of long-term kidney failure risk after donation. Accurate estimation of the level of GFR and risk of kidney failure, and communication of estimated risks, can support evidence-based donor selection and shared decision-making. In this review, we discuss approaches to optimal GFR estimation in the donor evaluation process, long-term risk projection, and risk communication to donor candidates, integrating recommendations from the new KDIGO guideline, other recent literature, and experience from our own research and practice. We conclude by highlighting topics for further research in this important area of transplant medicine.

Keywords: Evaluation; Glomerular filtration rate; Kidney failure; Living kidney donation; Risk assessment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Donor Selection / methods*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Living Donors*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology
  • Renal Insufficiency / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors