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July 1, 1983

Psychiatric Morbidity in Long-term Renal Transplant Recipients and Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: A Comparative Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, The Payne Whitney Clinic (Drs Kalman and Wilson, and Ms Kalman), and the Rogosin Kidney Center (Drs Kalman and Wilson), The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York.

JAMA. 1983;250(1):55-58. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340010037025

This study assessed and compared psychiatric morbidity in long-term (five years or longer) renal transplant recipients and patients undergoing hemodialysis. Fifty-seven of 98 transplant recipients and 44 of 89 patients undergoing dialysis returned questionnaires designed to collect demographic information and to detect psychiatric morbidity. The two groups differed significantly only in that the patients undergoing dialysis were both older and medically sicker than the transplant recipients. Forty-six percent of the transplant group and 48% of the dialysis group could be identified as psychiatrically impaired either by their scores on the General Health Questionnaire or by a history of prior psychiatric treatment. The finding of nearly equivalent psychiatric morbidity in these two groups does not support the often-held notions about psychological advantages of transplantation over dialysis. We conclude that psychiatric morbidity in patients with chronic renal failure is high and appears not to be related to the choice of treatment.

(JAMA 1983;250:55-58)