Kidney transplant outcomes in recipients with cognitive impairment: A national registry and prospective cohort study

Alvin G. Thomas, Jessica M. Ruck, Ashton A. Shaffer, Christine E. Haugen, Hao Ying, Fatima Warsame, Nadia Chu, Michelle C. Carlson, Alden L. Gross, Silas P. Norman, Dorry L. Segev, Mara McAdams-DeMarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Cognitive impairment is common in patients with end-stage renal disease and is associated with poor outcomes on dialysis. We hypothesized that cognitive impairment might be associated with an increased risk of all-cause graft loss (ACGL) in kidney transplant (KT) recipients. Methods. Using the Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) examination, we measured global cognitive function at KT hospital admission in a prospective, 2-center cohort of 864 KT candidates (August 2009 to July 2016). We estimated the association between pre-KT cognitive impairment and ACGL using Cox regression, adjusting for recipient, donor, and transplant factors. Results. In living donor KT (LDKT) recipients, the prevalence was 3.3% for mild impairment (60 ≤ 3MS < 80) and 3.3% for severe impairment (3MS < 60). In deceased donor KT (DDKT) recipients, the prevalence was 9.8% for mild impairment and 2.6% for severe impairment. The LDKT recipients with cognitive impairment had substantially higher ACGL risk than unimpaired recipients (5-year ACGL: 45.5% vs 10.6%; P < 0.01; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] any impairment, 5.40 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.78-16.34; P < 0.01); aHR severe impairment, 5.57 (95% CI, 1.29-24.00; P = 0.02). Similarly, DDKT recipients with severe impairment had higher ACGL risk than recipients without severe impairment (5-year ACGL, 53.0% vs 24.2%; P = 0.04); aHR severe impairment, 2.92 (95% CI, 1.13-7.50; P = 0.03). Conclusions. Given the elevated risk of ACGL among KT recipients with cognitive impairment observed in this 2-center cohort, research efforts should explore the mechanisms of graft loss and mortality associated with cognitive impairment and identify potential interventions to improve posttransplant survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1504-1513
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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