New research provides employment figures of k

Strong points

  • In an analysis from the Netherlands, the proportion of employed stable kidney transplant recipients was 56%.
  • Kidney transplant recipients with stable jobs reported doing very well at work.

Washington, DC (September 26, 2022) — A recent study in CJASN provides an estimate of the proportion of working-age kidney transplant recipients who work in the Netherlands and identifies characteristics associated with lower functioning at work.

For many adults, work is an important aspect of life, providing not only income, but also purpose, structure, social contacts and other factors that contribute to quality of life. Employment figures for stable kidney transplant recipients in Europe are inconsistent, and little is known about work functioning – a person’s ability to meet the demands of work – among employed kidney transplant recipients.

To investigate, Tim J. Knobbe, MD (University Medical Center Groningen) and colleagues analyzed data from the ongoing TransplantLines Biobank and Cohort Study in the Netherlands and employed community-dwelling adults in the country. The analysis included 668 kidney transplant recipients (59% male) at a median of 3 years post-transplant, 246 potential kidney donors (43% male) and 553 community-dwelling adults (70% of men), all of working age.

The proportion of employed kidney transplant recipients was lower than that of potential kidney donors (56% versus 79%). If employed, the job functioning score of kidney transplant recipients was slightly lower than that of employed potential kidney donors, but higher than that of employed adults living in the community. A lower level of education, having a kidney from a deceased donor, the presence of tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, the presence of concentration/memory problems, the presence of anxiety and presence of severe fatigue were associated with poorer job functioning in kidney transplant recipients. Additional analyzes showed that work functioning scores were lower before transplantation compared to 12 months after transplantation.

The results indicate that despite the side effects of immunosuppressive therapy and a high prevalence of fatigue, stable employed kidney transplant recipients often function well at work.

“This study is a clear message to employers that kidney transplant recipients can function very well at work, which may help reduce any stigma around work and job functioning after kidney transplant,” said Knobe. “Additionally, these findings may help guide caregivers and patients with kidney failure on what to expect from life after kidney transplantation.”

An accompanying Patient Voice article notes that “education about kidney replacement therapy can help patients and employers work as a team, design a retraining option, and enable transition to less physically demanding work” .

Other study authors include Daan Kremer, MD, Femke I. Abma, PhD, Coby Annema, PhD, Stefan P. Berger, MD, PhD, Gerjan J. Navis, MD, PhD, Sijrike F. van der Mei, PhD, Ute Bültmann, PhD, Annemieke Visser, PhD, and Stephan JL Bakker, MD, PhD.

Disclosures: C. Annema reports research funding from Chiesi Pharmaceuticals BV and the Dutch Kidney Foundation and serves in advisory or executive roles for the Dutch Transplant Society and the European Committee of Health Professionals Allied to Kidney Transplantation. ‘ESOT. SJL Bakker reports research funding from Astellas Pharma and Chiesi and an advisory or leadership role for the Dutch Health Council, Scientific Council of the Dutch Kidney Foundation. SP Berger reports consulting agreements with Novartis, research funding from Chiesi and Novartis, honoraria from Novartis and Astellas, and advisory or leadership roles for the Novartis Advisory Board and the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Transplant Foundation. U. Bültmann points to an advisory or leadership role for Vocational Rehabilitation Journal. GJ Navis reports that he is chairman (until December 2021) of the scientific council of the Dutch Kidney Foundation, member of the Health Council of the Netherlands and member of the permanent advisory board of the Ministry of Health for prevention.

The article, titled “Employment Status and Job Functioning in Kidney Transplant Recipients,” will be published online at on September 26, 2022, doi:10.2215/CJN .05560522.

The Patient Voice, entitled “Dialysis, Transplantation, and Work: Honoring Original Intent”, will appear online at on September 26, 2022, doi: 10.2215/CJN.09840822

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