Current recommendations regarding evaluation of cognitive functioning in organ transplant candidates

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Curr Opin Organ Transplant


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Cognitive impairment is associated with negative effects on solid organ transplant candidates, recipients, and their care partners. However, because of the heterogeneity of mechanisms, presentations, and assessment measures, research suggests a wide array of impairments, patterns of impairments, and unclear trajectories posttransplant. This review provides an abbreviated synthesis of recent research on cognitive impairments observed in organ-eligible candidates and potential trajectories through posttransplant, current clinical recommendations regarding integration of assessment into routine clinical transplant practice, as well as recommendations for future research.

RECENT FINDINGS: Transplantation may resolve certain disease-contributing factors to cognitive impairments but also introduces new potential neurocognitive assaults. Recent studies in kidney and lung recipients document continued impairments in subsets of patients, particularly those identified as frail. For liver candidates, new assessment measures of hepatic encephalopathy have been developed and preliminarily tested with potential for translation into routine clinical care. Clinical implications, as well as ethical considerations are discussed.

SUMMARY: Although guidelines agree that cognitive assessment is an important part of the organ transplantation process, many questions remain of how to best assess cognition and intervene when cognitive impairment is identified in transplant populations. Further research should focus on prospective, longitudinal assessments in transplant-eligible populations through posttransplant.

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ePub ahead of print