In a first-of-its-kind study, Canadian researchers have found kidney donors do not face an increased risk of heart disease -- a dose of good news for the 27,000 people worldwide who donate a kidney each year.
The study, which is to be published in the British Medical Journal, compared the health records of 2,028 Canadians who donated a kidney between 1992 and 2009, and 2,0280 healthy non-donors.
After 10 years, researchers found donors were at no greater risk for heart disease than non-donors.
"We manually reviewed the medical charts of over 2000 living kidney donors in Ontario and linked this information to universal healthcare databases to reliably follow major cardiovascular events," noted lead researcher Dr. Amit Garg, a kidney specialist at the London Health Sciences Centre.
Researchers said the analysis was prompted by past studies showing a strong link between reduced kidney function and an increased risk of heart disease.
But despite reduced kidney function in the donors, the new study found that donors actually had a lower risk of death and heart disease compared to non-donors. This may be because donors must pass a rigorous health screening process before being considered for donation and are generally healthy, researchers said.