Living-donor transplantation leads to a major improvement in physical functioning: an observational study on the impact on potential donors and their recipients

Natascha J. H. Broers*, Tsz Yeung Fung, Jeroen P. Kooman, Maarten H. L. Christiaans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Prospective studies combining physical functioning (PF), physical activity (PA), and body composition (BC) after living donor transplantation/ donation are scarce. We aimed to study differences in these parameters between kidney transplant recipients and their living donors by examining changes in these parameters in the first post-operative year in both groups.

Methods: Twenty-two kidney transplant recipients and 22 healthy kidney donors were included in this prospective longitudinal study with a follow-up until twelve months. PF was assessed by handgrip strength (HGS), and by the physical domains of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) using the Short Form-36 questionnaire [PF (SF-36 PF) and physical component summary (PCS) score]. BC was measured by the Body Composition Monitor (c), and PA was measured by the SenseWear (TM) pro3.

Results: At baseline, recipients had significantly lower HGS (after adjustment for sex and body weight), SF-36 PF, PCS, and PA, as compared with their donors. In recipients HGS significantly increased in the first year after transplantation, but PA did not change in the first six months after transplantation. Furthermore, no significant increase in lean tissue mass was observed. For healthy donors no significant changes in these parameters were observed, with exception of SF-36 PF, which declined in the first three months after donation, but equaled baseline values after twelve months.

Conclusion: Recipients showed impressive improvements in PF and the physical domains of HRQOL in the first year after transplantation, reaching levels of healthy kidney donors already three to six months after transplantation. On the contrary, living kidney donation did not show any deterioration of the investigated parameters, supporting little impact for well-screened donors, while there is high benefit for transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBmc Nephrology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2019


  • Kidney transplantation
  • Living donor
  • Physical functioning
  • Physical activity
  • Body composition
  • CARE

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