Prospective psychosocial monitoring of living kidney donors using the SF-36 health survey

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Psychosocial assessment and monitoring of living kidney donors is not yet standard practice, despite calls for it in the literature.


Psychosocial assessment of living kidney donors was performed preoperatively and 4 months postoperatively, using the SF-36 Health Survey, the Patient Health Questionnaire psychiatric assessment, and semistructured interview.


Assessment was acceptable to the majority of donors; 92% (44) of 48 consecutive donors completed both assessments. Preoperatively, both physical function (SF-36 Physical Component Score [PCS]) and psychosocial function (SF-36 Mental Component Score [MCS]) were significantly higher than community (state of Victoria) norms. Postoperatively, PCS and MCS fell significantly, but not below the Victorian norm. Seven donors (16%) developed adjustment disorder or anxiety disorder; their MCS were significantly lower than those without psychiatric disorder.


It is concluded that routine psychosocial assessment performed by a psychiatrist, including the use of questionnaires, is acceptable to donors and identifies those impaired. Potential donors need to be well prepared for such assessment and well educated about the extent of physical and psychosocial impairment that might occur in the postoperative period.

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