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Health-Related Quality of Life, Depressive Symptoms, and Kidney Transplant Access in Advanced CKD: Findings From the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study


Rationale & objective

Among individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD), poor self-reported health is associated with adverse outcomes including hospitalization and death. We sought to examine the association between health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) and depressive symptoms in advanced CKD and subsequent access to the kidney transplant waiting list.

Study design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting & population

1,676 Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study participants with estimated glomerular filtration rates ≤ 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 at study entry or during follow-up.


HRQoL ascertained by 5 scales of the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-36 Survey (Physical Component Summary [PCS], Mental Component Summary, Symptoms, Burdens, and Effects), with higher scores indicating better HRQoL, and depressive symptoms ascertained using the Beck Depression Inventory.


Time to kidney transplant wait-listing and time to pre-emptive wait-listing.

Analytic approach

Time-to-event analysis using Cox proportional hazards regression.


During a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 652 (39%) participants were wait-listed, of whom 304 were preemptively wait-listed. Adjusted for demographics, comorbid conditions, estimated glomerular filtration rate slope, and cognitive function, participants with the highest scores on the Burden and Effects scales, respectively, had lower rates of wait-listing than those with the lowest scores on the Burden (wait-listing adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.70; 95% CI, 0.57-0.85; P < 0.001) and Effects scales (wait-listing aHR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.59-0.92; P = 0.007). Participants with fewer depressive symptoms (ie, Beck Depression Inventory score < 14) had lower wait-listing rates than those with more depressive symptoms (aHR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.66-0.99; P = 0.04). Participants with lower Burden and Effects scale scores and those with higher Symptoms and PCS scores had higher pre-emptive wait-listing rates (aHR in highest tertile of PCS relative to lowest tertile, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.12-2.23; P = 0.01).


Unmeasured confounders.


Self-reported health in late-stage CKD may influence the timing of kidney transplantation.

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