Life after Kidney Donation

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People who donate kidneys can lead a healthy and active life. It is essential to know that donating a kidney does not change your life expectancy or increase your chances of kidney failure. Hence, you may safely donate your kidney to someone in need of it.

Is there any risk after kidney donation?

Our body has a capability of working normally even with a single kidney. When a person donates kidney, the remaining kidney grows bigger and simply takes over the work of the other kidney as well.

A few people may experience a very minor reduction in kidney function and develop proteinuria (protein in urine). There may be a slightly increased risk of high blood pressure but it is usually mild. Some people may develop kidney failure, which may occur as a result of superimposed conditions such as poorly controlled high blood pressure or poor medication compliance. However, the incidence of these risks is too small and occurs only in a few people.

How soon can the donor resume job after kidney donation?

Most people are able to return to work after 2-6 weeks, depending on their recovery from surgery and the type of job they have. If the donor has a desk job, he/she may be able to return to work sooner than patients with a more physically demanding job.

Does the donor need to take some special care after donating kidney?

Although having a single kidney is not going to have any effect on your living but you certainly have to be careful. The kidney donors are usually recommended the following guidelines to ensure a normal and healthy life:

  • Kidney function assessment should be done annually: serum creatinine, 24 hour urine creatinine clearance and protein.
  • Blood pressure check-up at least once in a year. If high blood pressure develops take some medications (with doctors consultation) to bring systolic pressure to less than 130 mm of Hg.
  • Prompt treatment of infections in the urinary tract, if present.
  • Intravenous antibiotics should be started immediately in case you develop pyelonephritis (infection in the kidney).
  • Avoid taking nephrotoxic medications (such as aminoglycosides,cyclosporine, pentamidine, ifosfamide, vancomycin, neomycin, nitrous oxide, isoflurane, kanamycin, and cyclophosphamide) for a long time.
  • Immediately consult a nephrologist if you have:

o    decline in kidney function and develop proteinuria (> 500 mg/day)

o    uncontrollable high blood pressure

o    sudden decline in kidney function

Hence, except for some special care that you will need, donating kidney will not affect your way of living. You can live a perfectly normal and healthy life even with a single kidney.