Discrepancies between Perceived and Measured Cognition in Kidney Transplant Recipients: Implications for Clinical Management

Aditi Gupta, Tashra S. Thomas, Jeffrey A. Klein, Robert N. Montgomery, Jonathan D. Mahnken, David K Johnson, David A. Drew, Mark J. Sarnak, Jeffrey M. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Cognitive impairment is common in kidney transplant (KT) recipients and affects quality of life, graft survival, morbidity, and mortality. Failure to identify patients with cognitive impairment can withhold appropriate and timely intervention. This study determines whether measured cognition with standard screening tools offers any advantage over perceived cognition in screening transplant patients for cognitive impairment. Methods: Cognition was assessed in 157 KT recipients using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA; measured cognition). In addition, transplant physicians and nurse coordinators were asked to rate transplant recipients' level of cognition after routine clinical interactions (perceived cognition). Physicians and nurses were blind to MoCA scores. Perceived cognition scores were compared to MoCA scores. Results: Perceived cognition scores fairly correlated with MOCA scores (γ = 0.24, p = 0.001 for physicians and γ = 0.33, p < 0.0001 for nurses). Physician scores moderately correlated with nurses scores (κ = 0.44, p < 0.0001). Clinical perception had a low accuracy for identifying patients with cognitive impairment (sensitivity 66% for physicians, 65% for nurses), and those without cognitive impairment (specificity 67% for physicians, 76% for nurses). Conclusion: Clinical perception is inaccurate at detecting cognitive impairment in KT recipients. Objective tests should be considered to screen KT recipients for cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Kidney transplant
  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Nephrology
  • Urology
  • Physiology (medical)


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