Purpose of review
Given that the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in transplant candidates and recipients is substantially higher than in the general population, and that linkages between psychiatric disorders and medical outcomes for nontransplant-related diseases have been established, it is important to determine whether psychiatric disorders predict posttransplant medical outcomes.
Most research has focused on the association between depression (both pretransplant and posttransplant) and posttransplant mortality. Some research has examined transplant-related morbidity outcomes, such as graft rejection, posttransplant malignancies, and infection. However, methodological limitations make it difficult to compare existing studies in this literature directly. Overall, the studies presented in this review indicate that psychiatric distress occurring in the early transplant aftermath bears a stronger relationship to morbidity and mortality outcomes than psychiatric distress occurring before transplant.
The literature on the impact of psychiatric conditions on the morbidity and mortality of solid organ transplant recipients remains inconclusive. More research is needed in order to investigate these associations among a broader range of psychiatric predictors, morbidity outcomes, and recipient populations. Until evidence suggests otherwise, we recommend frequent monitoring of psychiatric symptoms during the first year after transplantation to aid in early identification and treatment during this critical period of adjustment.