HealthDay News — Kidney donation is safe for a select group of older, living donors, suggest researchers.

“Given the strong associations of older age with cardiovascular disease (CVD), nephrectomy could make older donors vulnerable to death and cardiovascular events,” noted Peter P. Reese, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues wrote in the American Journal of Transplantation.

To explore this further, Reese and team compared mortality and cardiovascular disease in older live kidney donors (aged ≥55 years) with matched (1:1) healthy older patients in the Health and Retirement Survey. Mortality was ascertained through national death registries and Medicare claims data.

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From 1996 to 2006, there were 5,717 older donors in the United States, of whom 3,368 were matched to older healthy nondonors. The pairs had a mean age of 59 years, 41% were male, and 7% were black. There was no mortality difference between the pairs over a median follow-up of 7.8 years (P=0.21). The combined outcome of death/cardiovascular disease was not significantly different (P=0.70) between donors and nondonors with Medicare.

“In summary, carefully selected older kidney donors do not face a higher risk of death or CVD,” wrote the researchers.


  1. Reese P et al. American Journal of Transplantation. 2014; doi: 10.1111/ajt.12822