Transplant Patient Death Risk Higher If Donors Are Smokers

SEATTLE—Kidney transplant recipients are at higher risk of death if their organs came from a living donor who smoked within one year prior to undergoing nephrectomy, investigators reported at the 2013 American Transplant Congress.

In a retrospective single-institution study of 635 kidney transplantations involving living donors, Seth A. Waits, MD, and colleagues at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that patients who received kidneys from smokers had a significant twofold increased risk of death compared with those who received kidneys from nonsmokers. Dr. Waits' group also observed a trend toward reduced graft survival associated with kidneys from smokers, but this was not statistically significant.

Results showed that 26% of the donors smoked within one year prior to their nephrectomy, and these were considered active smokers. Smokers were more likely to be younger males and the nonsmokers were more likely to be older women.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest that smoking is an important consideration to discuss with potential donors and recipients.

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