Depression diagnoses after living kidney donation: Linking U.S. Registry data and administrative claims

Krista L. Lentine, Mark A. Schnitzler, Huiling Xiao, David Axelrod, Connie L. Davis, Melanie McCabe, Daniel C. Brennan, Sheila Leander, Amit X. Garg, Amy D. Waterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Background: Limited data exist on correlates of psychological outcomes after kidney donation. Methods: We used a database integrating Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network registrations for 4650 living kidney donors from 1987 to 2007 with administrative data of a U.S. private health insurer (2000-2007 claims) to identify depression diagnoses among prior living donors. The burden and demographic correlates of depression after enrollment in the insurance plan were estimated by Cox regression. Graft failure and death of the donor's recipient were examined as time-varying exposures. Results: After start of insurance benefits, the cumulative frequency of depression diagnosis was 4.2% at 1 year and 11.5% at 5 years, and depression among donors was less common than among age-and gender-matched general insurance beneficiaries (rate ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence intervals [CI], 0.60-0.81). Demographic and clinical correlates of increased likelihood of depression diagnoses among the prior donors included female gender, white race, and some perioperative complications. After adjustment for donor demographic factors, recipient death (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR), 2.23; 95% CI, 1.11-4.48) and death-censored graft failure (aHR, 3.30; 95% CI, 1.49-7.34) were associated with two to three times the relative risk of subsequent depression diagnosis among nonspousal unrelated donors. There were trends toward increased depression diagnoses after recipient death and graft failure among spousal donors but no evidence of associations of these recipient events with the likelihood of depression diagnosis among related donors. Conclusions: Recipient death and graft loss predict increased depression risk among unrelated living donors in this privately insured sample. Informed consent and postdonation care should consider the potential impact of recipient outcomes on the psychological health of the donor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 2012


  • Administrative claims
  • Depression
  • Diagnoses
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Living donors
  • Registries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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