End-stage renal disease (ESRD) in children is associated with impaired neurocognitive function and development. However, data on factors associated with neurocognitive dysfunctions in children with kidney transplants are limited.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis comparing cognitive functions (using the Woodcock-Johnson International Edition, WJIE) in 35 kidney transplant and 35 healthy control children. Data on laboratory measurements, comorbidities, and social characteristics were collected.
Transplant children had significantly worse scores on the intelligence quotient (IQ) test compared with controls [Full Scale IQ score 85 (26) vs 107 (10), p <0.001]. Lower maternal education level was significantly associated with lower WJIE cognitive test scores; however, no association was found between laboratory values and WJIE scores. Among children with kidney transplants, those with medical comorbid conditions had significantly lower Verbal Ability and Full Scale IQ scores. Earlier age of dialysis onset and a longer total time on dialysis (>9 months) were associated with lower test scores. Age-standardized duration of hospitalization was inversely correlated with IQ (r = -0.46, p <0.01) and was an independent significant predictor (Beta = -0.38, p = 0.02) of IQ scores in transplanted children.
Child kidney transplant recipients have neurocognitive function impairments that are associated with markers of socioeconomic status (SES) and factors related to disease severity.