Patients perform well at work after a kidney transplantation

Patients who have undergone a kidney transplantation appear to perform well at work. After the transplant, many of them perform better at work than they did in the period before the procedure. This is the conclusion of research conducted by Tim Knobbe, Daan Kremer, and colleagues from the department of Nephrology.

The research findings were published today in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. According to the researchers, the results of this study contain a clear message to employers.

Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment for many patients. As medical knowledge and techniques progress, the survival rate for patients after transplantation continues to improve. As a result, more attention is being paid to the quality of life for these patients. Work and job satisfaction play a major role in people’s quality of life. For this study, the researchers ascertained the number of kidney transplant patients who had a job, and how they viewed their own performance at work. Until now, very little was known about employment participation among kidney transplant patients. Their performance at work had never been studied.

668 kidney transplant patients were included

The researchers analysed data of 668 kidney transplant patients of working age. They had all undergone a kidney transplant more than a year ago. All of the patients in the group are participants of the UMCG TransplantLines study.

The majority have a job and perform well at work

The research revealed that 56% of the kidney transplant patients are employed, and that they perform well at work. Their performance is comparable to that of two control groups, comprising a group from the general working population and a group of employed potential kidney donors. Despite the fact that kidney transplant patients often feel tired and experience side effects from the immunosuppressive drugs, they still perform well at work. According to the researchers, this can be explained by their high level of motivation or possible changes at work that ensure a good balance between their capacities and work load.

Performance after the transplantation better than before

The researchers also compared the patients’ performance at work before and after the transplantation. These patients claimed to perform better after their transplantation than before.

A clear message to employers

According to researcher Tim Knobbe, the findings of this study form a clear message to employers. “Kidney transplant recipients are clearly more than capable of doing their job. Knowing this, might help to overcome stigmas about work and their performance at work after a transplantation. In addition, these findings can help us to inform patients with kidney failure about what to expect from life after a kidney transplantation.”

Read the publicaton in CJASN here.


The study used data from patients taking part in the TransplantLines study in the UMCG. TransplantLines was set up in 2015 by Prof. Stephan Bakker and a large group of researchers from various UMCG departments. The study was specifically designed to provide information about the long-term implications of organ transplantation. Thousands of transplant patients are currently taking part. For the purposes of this particular research project into work and performance at work, the researchers selected data from 668 participants of working age, who had undergone a kidney transplant at least one year previously.