Follow-up interviews of 12 living kidney donors one yr after open donor nephrectomy

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Very few studies have prospectively followed living kidney donors the first year after donor surgery. In 2003, we in-depth interviewed living kidney donors one wk after donation to explore their immediate experiences of going through nephrectomy. The aim of the current investigation was to explore experiences regarding physical and psychosocial health during the first year after donor surgery. Twelve donors going through open donor nephrectomy were interviewed by telephone at one yr after donation. The analysis was carried out with an empirical phenomenological method. All participants expressed an overall positive experience about being a donor a year after transplantation. However, several participants experienced physical disincentives longer than expected post-donation. Emotional distress, such as mild depression and a feeling of loss, was also part of the donor experiences. Donors experiencing unsuccessful recipient outcome reported severe physical and mental reactions. This study provides insights on the physical and mental cost to living kidney donation. Awareness of how donors may experience their situations can help transplantation professionals in their efforts to understand and provide support.

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