Although living kidney donors receive praise from friends and coworkers for their selflessness, recent studies report that members of the immediate family may not be as supportive. Reports of conflict surrounding living organ donation include divorce between the donor and the donor's spouse. The purpose of this review of the literature is to (1) discuss the spousal role when confronted with a partner's illness, (2) explore the current research describing the spouses of patients with heart disease and cancer, various transplant recipients, and living organ donors, and (3) identify the need for future research to explore the experiences and needs of the spouses of living kidney donors. Because the attitudes of donor family members, especially spouses, may affect the decision to donate and the satisfaction with recovery from donation surgery, it is critical to know how the spouses of living kidney donors view kidney donation. This knowledge may be instrumental in promoting family harmony and donor recovery and wellness.
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