Impact of depression on long-term outcome after renal transplantation: a prospective cohort study

Transplantation. 2012 Nov 27;94(10):1033-40. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e31826bc3c8.


Background: Renal transplantation is the treatment of choice for end stage renal disease. Although there is more depression in wait-listed versus transplant patients, depression persists after transplantation. We investigated the determinants of depression in renal transplantation recipients (RTRs) and the association with cardiovascular (CV) and all-cause-mortality and graft failure.

Methods: RTR were investigated between 2001 and 2003. Depression was assessed using the Depression Subscale of the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90). Mortality and graft failure were recorded until May 2009.

Results: A total of 527 RTR (age, 51±12 years; 55% men) were studied; 31% of the RTR were indicated with depression. Independent variables associated with depression were medically unfit for work, proteinuria, lower physical activity level, and longer dialysis duration. During follow-up for 7.0 (6.2-7.5) years, 114 RTR (59 CV) died. In Cox regression analyses, depression was strongly associated with increased risk for CV (HR=2.12 [1.27-3.53], P=0.004) and all-cause mortality (HR=1.96 [1.36-2.84], P<0.001). Adjustments for confounders did not materially change these associations. The association with graft failure (HR=1.77 [1.01-3.10]. P=0.047) disappeared after adjustment for kidney function (P=0.6).

Conclusions: Although our study has several limitations, including the lack of pretransplant depression status, we identified medically unfit for work, proteinuria, lower physical activity level, and longer dialysis duration as independent variables associated with depression. We furthermore found that depression is associated with CV and all-cause mortality in RTR.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / complications*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology*
  • Graft Rejection / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality
  • Kidney Transplantation / psychology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors