Transplantation| Volume 166, ISSUE 2, P205-208, August 2019

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Obesity and long-term mortality risk among living kidney donors



      Body mass index of living kidney donors has increased substantially. Determining candidacy for live kidney donation among obese individuals is challenging because many donation-related risks among this subgroup remain unquantified, including even basic postdonation mortality.


      We used data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients linked to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to study long-term mortality risk associated with being obese at the time of kidney donation among 119,769 live kidney donors (1987–2013). Donors were followed for a maximum of 20 years (interquartile range 6.0–16.0). Cox proportional hazards estimated the risk of postdonation mortality by obesity status at donation. Multiple imputation accounted for missing obesity data.


      Obese (body mass index ≥ 30) living kidney donors were more likely male, African American, and had higher blood pressure. The estimated risk of mortality 20 years after donation was 304.3/10,000 for obese and 208.9/10,000 for nonobese living kidney donors. Adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, blood pressure, baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate, relationship to recipient, smoking, and year of donation, obese living kidney donors had a 30% increased risk of long-term mortality compared with their nonobese counterparts (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.09–1.60, P = .006). The impact of obesity on mortality risk did not differ significantly by sex, race or ethnicity, biologic relationship, baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate, or among donors who did and did not develop postdonation kidney failure.


      These findings may help to inform selection criteria and discussions with obese persons considering living kidney donation.
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