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Transplantation. 2009 Dec 15;88(11):1273-9. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181bb44fd.

Morbidity and mortality in 1022 consecutive living donor nephrectomies: benefits of a living donor registry.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway. geir.mjoen@rikshospitalet.no



We assessed postoperative complication rates in living donor nephrectomies (LDN) during the last decade (1997-2008).


Postoperative complications were classified by the Clavien grading system. We defined Clavien grade more than or equal to 3 as major complications. A total of 1022 LDNs performed during the period 1997-2008 were included.


Median age at donation was 47.7 years (range 18.4-78.9), and mean body mass index was 25.4 (SD 3.2). There was no peri- or postoperative mortality. Laparoscopic nephrectomy was performed in 244 (23.9%) donors. Three of these needed surgical conversion. A total of 30 major (2.9%) and 184 (18%) minor complications were registered. There was a higher frequency of major complications in the laparoscopic group (4.1% vs. 2.6%), but the difference was not statistically significant. Twenty-three donors underwent early re-operations. Wound infection developed in 3.7% of donors. Increased risk was associated with body mass index more than 25 (OR 4.03; 95% CI 1.80, 9.04) and smoking (OR 4.38; 95% CI 2.30, 9.96). Significant perioperative bleeding occurred in 1.6%. There were seven cases of renal artery laceration. Increased risk for a combined endpoint of intraoperative incidents, major complications and significant bleeding were seen in relation to laparoscopic surgery (OR 2.63; 95% CI 1.33, 5.19).


The risk of major complications related to LDN is low, but do represent a potential hazard to the donor. The special nature of LDN and the constantly evolving operative technique requires vigilant surveillance, by the use of national or supranational registries/databases.

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