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Kidney Donors, Recipients Have Little Difference in Income

Last Updated: August 14, 2012.

The median income differences between living kidney donors and transplant recipients in the United States are negligible, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The median income differences between living kidney donors and transplant recipients in the United States are negligible, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

John S. Gill, M.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and associates analyzed 54,483 living donor kidney transplants in the United States between 2000 and 2009 to determine the income and income difference of donors and recipients.

The researchers found that the median household income of donors was $46,334, compared to $46,439 for recipients. In 76 percent of donors, expenses related to donation consumed one month's income or more. For transplants involving a wealthier recipient, the mean income difference compared to donors was $22,760, and was less than $40,000 in 90 percent of cases.

"The findings suggest that the capacity for donors to absorb the financial consequences of donation, or of recipients to reimburse allowable expenses, is limited," the authors write. "We conclude that most donors and recipients have similar modest incomes, suggesting that the costs of donation are a significant burden in the majority of living donor transplants."

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