A living-donor kidney transplant is the removal of a kidney from a living donor and placement into a recipient whose kidneys no longer function properly. Only one donated kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys, which makes living-donor kidney transplant an alternative to deceased-donor kidney transplant.
About one-third of all kidney transplants performed in the U.S. are living-donor kidney transplants. The other two-thirds involve a kidney from a deceased donor.
Any healthy person can donate a kidney. When a living person donates a kidney the remaining kidney will enlarge slightly as it takes over the work of two kidneys. Donors do not need medication or special diets once they recover from surgery. As with any major operation, there is a chance of complications, but kidney donors have the same life expectancy, general health, and kidney function as most other people. The kidney loss does not interfere with a woman's ability to have children.
Potential Barriers to Living Donation
- Age < 18 years unless an emancipated minor
- Uncontrollable hypertension
- History of pulmonary embolism or recurrent thrombosis
- Bleeding disorders
- Uncontrollable psychiatric illness
- Morbid obesity
- Uncontrollable cardiovascular disease
- Conronic lung disease with impairment of oxygenation or ventilation
- History of melanoma
- History of metastatic cancer
- Bilateral or recurrent nephrolithiasis (kidney stones)
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) stage 3 or less
- Proteinuria > 300 mg/d excluding postural proteinuria
- HIV infection