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Clin Transpl. 1997:269-84.

Spousal and other living renal donor transplants.


Aside from HLA identical sibling donors, spousal donor transplants are the best living donors because their 3-year graft survival is comparable to that of all other living donors--with the exception of HLA identical siblings. Interestingly, the 14.5 year half-life of spousal donor kidneys was superior to the 10.8 year half-life of other living donor transplants. Better quality kidneys is the principal explanation for higher spousal donor graft survival rates when compared with cadaver donors. This was evident from the 2% anuria rate in the first post-operative day for spouse donor compared with 10% of cadaver donor transplants. Moreover, the requirement for dialysis was 6% for spouse donor grafts compared with 22% of cadaver donor transplants. The damage is not attributable to cold ischemia time but rather to agonal events and shock prior to kidney harvesting. In a survey of 176 spousal renal transplant donors, 175 of 176 said they would advise others to donate a kidney to a spouse--and only one donor advised against it. Of the "yes" responses, 28% provided additional comments enthusiastically recommending it. About 47% reported improvements in the marital relationship, 29% in the sexual relationship, and 25% described improved relations with their children. The fact that the donor reaps many direct personal benefits should make spousal donation the first consideration for living-donation (after the HLA-identical sibling donor).

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