Impact assessment in living kidney donation: psychosocial aspects in the donor

Transplant Proc. 2008 Apr;40(3):677-81. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.02.036.


Background: Living donor kidney transplantation has a positive influence on graft survival and recipient quality of life (QoL). We assessed the psychosocial impact of donation to the donor.

Methods: Before and after the procedure 32 living kidney donors (mean age 41 years) completed the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety and Depression Scales; a Sociodemographic, Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), and a Donation Perceptions Questionnaire.

Results: Living kidney donors were siblings (62.5%), parents (34.4%), or a daughter (3.1%). Transplantation was not successful in two cases: one recipient death and one graft failure. No significant changes were observed in donor QoL except for the SF-36 social functioning subscale that showed significant improvement after donation (P = .038). A reduction in depression symptom frequency was verified after donation (from 65.6% to 46.9%). There was an almost significant decrease in depression scores (P = .077), which was in fact was significant when one considered only successful transplants (P = .021). There was no significant variation in anxiety scores among donors. Time since transplantation was inversely correlated with overall anxiety (r = .443, P = .011), and with somatic anxiety subscales (r = .357, P = .045). For most donors, the decision to donate was easy and spontaneous. Nearly all donors would donate again and strongly encourage others to donate.

Conclusions: Except for the social functioning scale that improved, no significant changes were observed in QoL of living kidney donors after the procedure. Depression scores significantly decreased after donation, but anxiety scores remained stable. Donors, who were mostly siblings, showed positive perceptions about donation, did not regret their decision, and strongly recommend it to others.

MeSH terms

  • Education
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Kidney*
  • Living Donors / psychology*
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Nephrectomy / psychology*
  • Nuclear Family / psychology
  • Perception*
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires