Prevalence and correlates of cognitive impairment in kidney transplant recipients

Aditi Gupta, Jonathan D. Mahnken, David K. Johnson, Tashra S. Thomas, Dipti Subramaniam, Tyler Polshak, Imran Gani, G. John Chen, Jeffrey M. Burns, Mark J. Sarnak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: There is a high prevalence of cognitive impairment in dialysis patients. The prevalence of cognitive impairment after kidney transplantation is unknown. Methods: Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting and Participants: Single center study of prevalent kidney transplant recipients from a transplant clinic in a large academic center. Intervention: Assessment of cognition using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Demographic and clinical variables associated with cognitive impairment were also examined. Outcomes and Measurements: a) Prevalence of cognitive impairment defined by a MoCA score of <26. b) Multivariable linear and logistic regression to examine the association of demographic and clinical factors with cognitive impairment. Results: Data from 226 patients were analyzed. Mean (SD) age was 54 (13.4) years, 73% were white, 60% were male, 37% had diabetes, 58% had an education level of college or above, and the mean (SD) time since kidney transplant was 3.4 (4.1) years. The prevalence of cognitive impairment was 58.0%. Multivariable linear regression demonstrated that older age, male gender and absence of diabetes were associated with lower MoCA scores (p < 0.01 for all). Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was not associated with level of cognition. The logistic regression analysis confirmed the association of older age with cognitive impairment. Conclusion: Cognitive impairment is common in prevalent kidney transplant recipients, at a younger age compared to general population, and is associated with certain demographic variables, but not level of eGFR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 12 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Kidney transplantation
  • MoCA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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