Posttransplantation Outcomes in Veterans With Serious Mental Illness.

PMID 25706275


Anticipating poor recovery due to impaired self-management and appointment-keeping, clinicians may consider serious mental illness (SMI) a significant concern in organ transplantation. However, little empirical evidence exists regarding posttransplantation outcomes for patients with SMI. This study analyzed health services data to evaluate posttransplantation 3-year survival by SMI status in a nationwide cohort of patients in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). A total of 960 recipients of solid organ or bone marrow transplants were identified from Veterans Health Administration administrative data extracts for fiscal years 2006 to 2009. Of these, 164 (17%) had an SMI diagnosis before transplantation (schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress, major depressive, and bipolar disorders); 301 (31%) had some other mental illness diagnosis (such as anxiety, adjustment reactions, or substance abuse); and 495 (52%) had no mental health diagnosis. Twenty-two patients (2%) required retransplantation and 208 patients (22%) died during follow-up. Data on whether these were primary or repeat transplantations were unavailable. Rates of attendance at postoperative outpatient visits and number of months for which immunosuppressive drugs fills were recorded were similar among mental illness groups, as were rates of diagnosed immunological rejection. Three-year mortality was equivalent among mental health groups: no mental health (19%) versus other mental illness (23%) versus SMI (27%; χ(2) = 5.11; df = 2; P = .08). In adjusted survival models, no effect of mental health status was observed. Serious mental illness diagnosis does not appear to be associated with adverse transplantation outcomes over the first 3 years; however, a potentially diverging survival curve may portend higher mortality at 5 years.