SEATTLE—Living kidney donors should not be considered to have chronic kidney disease (CKD) if their renal function after nephrectomy falls to a level that usually would be considered CKD, researchers concluded in a study presented at the 2013 American Transplant Congress.

Many kidney donors have an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) below 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 early post-donation and therefore meet the criteria for CKD stage 3, according to researchers. The prognosis of such a low GFR, however, may not be equivalent to the prognosis of the same GFR in patients with two diseased kidneys.

“I think we should consider former kidney donors as healthy people and not CKD patients,” said investigator Laura V. De Vries, BSc, a PhD candidate at University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

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She and her colleagues compared 57 post-donation kidney donors and 57 CKD patients who were matched for age, gender, GFR, and duration of follow-up. GFR was determined with 125I-iothalamate clearance.

In both groups, the mean age of study subjects was 48 years and the mean follow-up was 4.7 years. The donors and CKD patients had similar a GFR (67 and 70 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively).

At the end of follow-up, donors had significantly better renal function than CKD patients, with a GFR of 73 versus 63 mL/min/1.72 m2, respectively. Serum creatinine levels decreased by 0.03 mg/dL in the donor group but increased by 0.03 in the CKD group. Additionally, GFR improved with time in all donors and declined in all CKD patients.