Living donor kidney transplant (LDKT) imparts the best graft and patient survival for most end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients. Yet, there remains variation in post-LDKT health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Improved understanding of post-LDKT HRQOL can help identify patients for interventions to maximize the benefit of LDKT.
For 477 LDKT recipients transplanted between 11/2007 and 08/2016, we assessed physical, mental, social, and kidney-targeted HRQOL pre-LDKT, as well as 3 and 12 months post-operatively using the SF-36, Kidney Disease Quality of Life—Short Form (KDQOL-SF), and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—Kidney Symptom Index 19 item version (FKSI-19). We then examined trajectories of each HRQOL domain using latent growth curve models (LGCMs). We also examined associations between decline in HRQOL from 3 months to 12 months post-LDKT and death censored graft failure (DCGF) using Cox regression.
Large magnitude effects (d > 0.80) were observed from pre- to post-LDKT change on the SF-36 Vitality scale (d = 0.81) and the KDQOL-SF Burden of Kidney Disease (d = 1.05). Older age and smaller pre- to post-LDKT decreases in serum creatinine were associated with smaller improvements on many HRQOL scales across all domains in LGCMs. Higher DCGF rates were associated with worse physical [e.g., SF-36 PCSoblique hazard ratio (HR) 1.18; 95% CI 1.01–1.38], mental (KDQOL-SF Cognitive Function HR 1.27; 95% CI 1.00–1.62), and kidney-targeted (FKSI-19 HR: 1.18; 95% CI 1.00–1.38) HRQOL domains.
Clinical HRQOL monitoring may help identify patients who are most likely to have failing grafts and who would benefit from post-LDKT intervention.