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

27 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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