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Psychiatric history in living kidney donor candidates

Nishimura, Katsuji; Kobayashi, Sayaka; Ishigooka, Jun

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: April 2012 - Volume 17 - Issue 2 - p 193–197
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0b013e3283510885

Purpose of review To critically discuss recent studies of living kidney donor candidates with a past or current psychiatric history and to offer guidance for the psychosocial evaluation of such donors.

Recent findings A global consensus has been developed that active, significant mental illness and substance abuse are absolute contraindications to organ donation due to diminished ability to make a well informed, rational decision about donation or to maintain health status after donation. However, to date, there has been little information published on the suitability for donation and the long-term psychosocial and medical outcomes after donation in donors with mental health issues, especially relatively milder psychiatric disorders, or past significant psychiatric history.

Summary To resolve the ethical dilemma of whether living donor candidates with mental health issues should be allowed to donate as is their right or be considered a vulnerable group in need of protection, we need more information. Information should include careful evaluation, possible intervention and follow-up to optimize donation.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan

Correspondence to Katsuji Nishimura, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, 8–1 Kawada-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162–8666, Japan. Tel: +81 3 3353 8111; fax: +81 3 3351 8979; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.