Background: Lack of prospective psychosocial outcome studies on living kidney donors impedes identification of risk factors for poor outcome.
Methods: Psychiatric assessment of living kidney donors was performed preoperatively and at 4 and 12 months postoperatively using a semistructured interview, the Short Form (SF)-36 Health Survey, and Patient Health Questionnaire psychiatric assessment. A total of 48 of 51 consecutive donors (94%) over a 5-year period were available for follow-up and completed all assessments.
Results: At preoperative assessment, only 1 of the 48 donors (2%) had a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition Axis I psychiatric disorder, but 15 (31%) developed a disorder during the 12 months, a 29% incidence. Disorders were depressive (12%), anxiety (6%), and adjustment (13%). Seven donors (15%) demonstrated a disorder at 12 months (depressive 10%, anxiety 2%, adjustment 2%). There was a corresponding decline in psychosocial function as measured by the SF-36 Mental Component Summary score; it decreased at both 4 and 12 months (P<0.01, P<0.05); for 19% of donors, this was a larger decrease than would be expected for the cohort (>2 standard error of measurement units). Scores for SF-36 scales of General Health and Vitality decreased significantly (P<0.05), as did those of Bodily Pain, indicating greater impairment from pain. Psychiatric disorder at 12 months was associated with donor psychosocial function (Mental Component Summary) and psychiatric disorder at 4 months (P<0.01), physical function (SF-36 Physical Component Summary score) at 4 and 12 months (P<0.01), and recipient psychiatric disorder at 12 months (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Donors should be alerted to possible psychosocial impairment, assessed for risk factors, and monitored for at least 12 months. Treatment should be available.