Content » Vol 31, Issue 4

Original report

LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF HEART TRANSPLANTATION: THE GAP BETWEEN PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

Brigitta Bunzel and Kurt Laederach-Hofmann
DOI: 10.1080/1650197731214222

Abstract

The purpose of our study was to assess physical and emotional factors in heart transplant patients. A prospective design was used to compare patients’ physical symptoms, emotional complaints, and restrictions at admission to the waiting list, immediately after, and 1 and 5 years after heart transplantation. Thirty-three patients were included (30 male, 3 female) in the study. Their mean age at admission was 48 􏰂 10.2 years. Of these, 23 suffered from cardiomyopathy, 8 from coronary heart disease, and 2 from valvular insufficiency. At admission, the patients suffered from symptoms of cardiac insuffi- ciency, and were restricted in sports, gardening, hobbies, sexual life, job, food-intake, and mobility. More than three-fourths rated their physical and emotional status as moderate to poor. Emotionally, they suffered from irritability, restlessness, depres- sion, psychic lability, lowered drive, lack of social contact, low self-esteem, and anxiety. At the end of rehabilitation (4–8 weeks after the operation), all physical and emotional complaints, as well as restrictions had significantly decreased (p ` 0.0001 to p ` 0.001), except for trembling, numbness of hands/feet, and food-intake. One year postopera- tively, patients reported even fewer physical com- plaints (p ` 0.01). Three-fourths rated their physical and emotional status good or excellent. Five years postoperatively—in contrast to physical status, re- strictions, and physical complaints—the emotional complaints had increased significantly (p ` 0.0001). Patients reported excellent physical performance up to 5 years postoperatively. On the other hand, the study revealed that their emotional well-being had significantly deteriorated from 1 to 5 years post- operatively. Attention should, therefore, not only be paid to the good physical health of the survivors, but also to the worsening of their emotional status

Lay Abstract

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