The nephrologist Remuzzi on the case of Fracesca Michielin: “With just one kidney, normal life”

The nephrologist Remuzzi on the case of Fracesca Michielin: “With just one kidney, normal life”


“You can live very well with just one kidney. Nephrectomy is a relatively simple operation, it can be performed traditionally, laparoscopically or with the use of a robot. We transplant a single kidney to patients who undergo a transplant. We then think about all the living kidney transplants, in which the donor continues his existence with only one kidney and the recipient also”. As the singer and presenter Francesca Michielin, who talked about the surgery she underwent, at least “the over 4,200 people who donated it in 20 years (data from 2001 to 2021) have experienced life with only one kidney”, without counting then all patients undergoing nephrectomy for other reasons related to pathologies and transplant recipients. She explains it Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, internationally renowned nephrologist.

The data

“The data on the long-term survival of those with only one kidney comes from living kidney donors and the majority are doing well – explains Remuzzi – All the available studies demonstrate that they live like normal people and the risk of suffering from kidney failure is advanced renal disease is the same as that of the general population. The only variations” detected in the long term “are a modest increase in blood pressure and the passage of proteins into the urine reported by several studies in a smaller proportion of people examined.

An acceptable risk, which can be controlled and does not concern everyone – specifies the specialist – but approximately 30% of donors and after many years” from nephrectomy. “These are problems that can be prevented with careful blood pressure control and there are drugs which can be remedied. Ultimately, the most important works have highlighted that having only one kidney, and therefore kidney donation, does not represent a problem with respect to the person’s longevity.”

A normal life

No sacrifices or special attention? “No, absolutely nothing – replies the scientist – Living with only one kidney means leading a perfectly normal life for the majority of people. Those in this condition can play sports, eat what they want”, in the case of Michielin take to the stage and go on tour. “The only risk is that the other kidney gets sick, but generally that doesn’t happen. So we can say that it doesn’t change your life”, assures Remuzzi.



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