(BALTIMORE) — Like virtually every other medical procedure, donating a kidney carries some risk but not nearly as much as what many people think.
In a study intended to reassure potential donors, Johns Hopkins researchers say that the chances of developing kidney failure happen to be lower than in people who hold onto their kidneys for a lifetime.
After examining 96,000 patients who donated kidneys between 1994 and 2011, study leader and transplant surgeon Dr. Dorry Segev found that the kidney failure rate was 90 per 10,000 donors compared to 326 per 10,000 people in the general population.
Segev says the findings, while surprising, may have to do with the fact that people who volunteer to give up a kidney have to go through rigorous mental and physical screening to learn if they’re able to handle going through life with a single kidney.
Once they pass muster, kidney donors are also moved higher up on transplant waiting lists in the event they do suffer organ failure.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Sean Stoker, KSL.com
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent