Background. Living kidney donation has increased recently as the shortage of cadaveric organs continues. This increase has occurred in part, due to expanded donor criteria, including obese patients. This is a potential concern because obesity is associated with surgical complications, possibly death, and chronic medical problems. To address this concern, we examined the outcome of a large group of obese (ObD) and nonobese living kidney donors (NObD). Methods. A total of 107 obese (body mass index≥27 kg/m2) and 116 nonobese (body mass index<27 kg/m2) living kidney donors donating at a single institution between 1990 and 1996 were studied. Surgical complications, operative duration, and hospital length of stay were assessed. Preoperative blood pressure, serum creatinine, creatinine clearance, protein excretion, fasting glucose, and hemoglobin A1C were measured and first degree relatives with diabetes were identified. Results. Overall complications were significantly more common in ObD, 16.8 vs. 3.4% (P=0.0012). The majority of complications in the entire cohort, 56%, were wound related and were significantly more common in ObD (P=0.016). There was no significant increase in nonwound-related infections, bleeding, or cardiopulmonary events. There were no deaths or major complications. Operative time was significantly longer in ObD 151±30 vs. 141±29 min (P<0.05) but hospital duration was no different. Predonation, blood pressure in ObD was significantly higher, (P<0.05) and they more often had a family history of diabetes, 46 vs. 30% (P<0.05) than nonobese donors. Renal function, proteinuria, fasting glucose, or hemoglobin A1C were no different. Conclusion. With prudent selection, the use of obese living kidney donors appears safe in the short term. They experience more minor complications, usually wound related, and slightly longer operations. Given a higher baseline blood pressure and family history of diabetes, the long-term effect on the remaining solitary kidney in ObD needs to be examined.
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