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Clin Transplant. 2014 Apr;28(4):419-22. doi: 10.1111/ctr.12330. Epub 2014 Mar 11.

Cigarette smoking in living kidney donors: donor and recipient outcomes.

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Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.



Living kidney donor pools are expanding with the use of "medically complex" donors. Whether or not to include cigarette smokers as living kidney donors remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between donor smoking and recipient outcomes. We hypothesized that donor smoking would increase donor complications and decrease allograft and recipient survival over time.


The charts of 602 living kidney donors and their recipients were retrospectively reviewed. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox modeling were used to assess the relationships between smoking and recipient and allograft survival.


No difference in postoperative complications was seen in smoking versus non-smoking donors. Donor smoking at time of evaluation did not significantly decrease allograft survival (HR = 1.19, p = 0.52), but recipient smoking at evaluation did reduce allograft survival (HR = 1.74, p = 0.05). Both donor and recipient smoking decreased recipient survival (HR = 1.93, p < 0.01 vs HR = 1.74, p = 0.048).


When controlled for donor and recipient factors, cigarette smoking by living kidney donors significantly reduced recipient survival. This datum suggests that careful attention to smoking history is an important clinical measure in which to counsel potential donors and recipients. Policy efforts to limit donors with a recent smoking history should be balanced with the overall shortage of appropriate kidney donors.


allograft; donor; nephrectomy; outcomes; recipient; smoking; survival

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