Background. Living kidney donation to a loved one has become common practice. Another type of living donation that is becoming more acceptable to the transplant community is 'Samaritan donation'. Samaritan kidney donors are willing to donate to patients they do not know. Until recently there has been great reluctance to accept the offers of Samaritan donors because it was feared that these donors might be mentally unstable. Method. The purpose of this article is to review the literature about the psychological evaluation of potential Samaritan kidney donors for donor suitability. We have performed a systematic literature search in Pubmed, ISI Web of Science and PsycINFO. We compare and discuss how each study approaches the question about Samaritan donor selection. In addition, we have also screened the studies for reports of rejections of Samaritan donors on psychological grounds. Results. We have found five articles that at least in some detail describe the evaluation of potential Samaritan donors. For all five articles found, a consultation with either a psychiatrist or a psychologist formed a standard part of the donor evaluation procedure. This evaluation consisted of an interview, and in most instances, additional psychometric testing. According to the articles found, the two major criteria for donor rejection were psychopathology/psychological instability and motivational issues. Three studies reported on the rejection of potential donors on psychological grounds. Conclusions. The evaluation of Samaritan kidney donors is a developing field in clinical medicine. Given the relatively low incidence of these types of donations, we recommend the exchange of experience between centres that run a Samaritan donor programme, in order to improve donor evaluation criteria.

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Psychological Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kranenburg, L., Zuidema, W., Erdman, R., Weimar, W., Passchier, J., & van Busschbach, J. (2008). The psychological evaluation of Samaritan kidney donors: A systematic review. Psychological Medicine (Vol. 38, pp. 177–185). doi:10.1017/S0033291707000979