The Effect of Psychiatric History on Pain and Related Outcomes Among Living Kidney Donors.



Living donor transplantation of kidneys accounts for one quarter of transplants performed in the United States. Careful screening of psychiatric history is a standard part of the donor evaluation. Little is known about the impact of psychiatric history on post-donation course and pain experience.

Research question

This study investigated whether psychiatric history was associated with pain and related outcomes among living kidney donors.


A retrospective medical record review was conducted of 75 living kidney donors who underwent laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. All donor candidates completed a psychological evaluation and were approved for donation by a multidisciplinary committee. History of psychiatric diagnosis and psychiatric medication use were obtained from donors' psychological evaluation reports. Data on pain and related outcomes (ie, history of prescribed pain medication, post-donation pain, opioid use, length of hospital stay, post-donation emergency department visits), as well as demographic and donation-related characteristics were also abstracted from medical records.


Psychiatric history, including current or historical psychiatric diagnosis or psychiatric medication use, in living kidney donors who were evaluated and approved for donation by a transplant psychologist was not associated with greater perceived pain, greater use of opioid pain medication in the post-operative period, longer hospital stays, or more frequent post-donation emergency department visits.


The findings demonstrate that carefully screened donors with a psychiatric history have comparable pain-related outcomes as donors without a psychiatric history. This study highlights the importance of the pre-donation psychological evaluation in promoting positive postdonation outcomes through careful selection of donor candidates.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Fox, Kristen R, Shaina L Gulin, Heather M Bruschwein, Terra Rose, Eileen J Burker, Tomasz Kozlowski and Marci M Loiselle (2021). The Effect of Psychiatric History on Pain and Related Outcomes Among Living Kidney Donors. Progress in transplantation (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), 31(2). pp. 108–116. 10.1177/15269248211002809 Retrieved from

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Marci M Loiselle

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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