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Donating a kidney doesn't hurt long-term health

In fact, occurrence of end-stage renal disease is lower among donors

Minnesota native Anthony Thein didn’t hesitate back in 1967 when doctors asked him to donate a kidney to his ailing brother. “If you think it might help somebody survive, you say, ‘Yes, of course,’ ” Thein says.

But kidney transplants from living donors were still uncommon in the late 1960s, and the operation carried risks for both parties. Doctors didn’t know whether living with just one kidney could entail long-term medical repercussions.

“Yeah, we really did something crazy 42 years ago,” Thein says today.

Perhaps not. Researchers report in the Jan. 29 New England Journal of Medicine that people who donate a kidney have about the same probability of survival over several decades as people in the general population. And donors seem to have adequate kidney function and even less risk of severe kidney disease than occurs in the general public, , nephrologist Hassan Ibrahim of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues report.

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