Mental problems in teen recipients

Adolescents who receive a kidney transplant have high rates of psychiatric problems, educational impairment, and social isolation, according to findings in the journal Pediatric Transplantation.

The authors, led by Dr. Sylvie Berney-Martinet of Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland, comment that children with chronic kidney disease often have psychological problems. The point of their research was to compare the psychologic profiles of teen kidney disease patients with adolescents who have received kidney transplants.

Three groups were studied: 40 kidney transplant recipients, 40 healthy adolescents, and 20 adolescents with chronic kidney disease all between the ages of 12-18 years.

The transplant recipients were more likely than the other adolescents to have educational difficulties and behavioral problems, the report indicates.

Sixty-five percent of transplant recipients met criteria for a psychiatric disorder compared with 60 percent of kidney disease patients and 37.5 percent of healthy teens.

Transplant recipients and kidney disease patients were equally likely to have a depression during their lifetime with a rate of 35 percent, which is much higher than the 15.2 percent rate noted in healthy teens.

Mental health, educational, and behavioral issues of teen transplant recipients should be routinely explored "both before and after transplant, and appropriate steps should be taken when needed," Berney-Martinet told Reuters Health.

Nonetheless, she added that data from larger groups of recipients are needed to confirm the findings.

(Reuters Health)

SOURCE: Pediatric Transplantation, February 5th online issue, 2009

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