Most living kidney donors and recipients would like to know more about each other’s health before a transplant, a new study indicates.
Currently, a transplant candidate must be told if the donor is at increased risk for hepatitis or HIV, but rules are unclear about what other health information can be shared.
“Our finding that both donors and recipients support greater sharing of health and health-behavior information challenges the current approach to disclosure in organ transplantation,” said study author Dr. Lainie Friedman Ross, of the University of Chicago.
Researchers surveyed 76 kidney transplant recipients or candidates and 160 potential or actual donors. They found that 88 percent of the respondents said recipients should receive donors’ general health information, and nearly four out of five said donors should be given recipients’ general health information.
Such information might include smoking habits, heart health and kidney function. Donors and recipients also said they would want the transplant team involved in the exchange of health information.
There was little interest in sharing social information, such as sexual orientation, criminal record, religion or job status.
More than three-quarters of all the respondents did not believe the recipient had a right to know why a potential donor was not allowed to donate, according to the study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
“The current model of health care decision-making and information disclosure assumes an isolated autonomous individual who makes private health care decisions with his or her own physician, but this fails to capture the fact that donor and recipient outcomes are interdependent,” Friedman Ross said in a journal news release. “A re-evaluation of current practices and policies should be considered.”
About 6,000 living donor kidney transplants occur each year in the United States.
The National Kidney Foundation has more about organ donation.