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J Pediatr Psychol. 2000 Dec;25(8):567-76.

Review: cognitive and psychological outcomes in pediatric heart transplantation.

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  • 1University of Florida College of Health Professions, USA.



To review empirical literature investigating the cognitive and psychological effects of pediatric heart transplantation.


Electronic and library searches were used to identify empirical studies examining the cognitive and psychological effects of pediatric heart transplantation. Only studies investigating cognitive or psychological outcomes, either prospectively or cross-sectionally, were reviewed.


Preliminary findings suggest that children and adolescents generally functioned within the normal range on most measures of cognitive functioning post-transplant. However, a complicated transplant course caused by infections or rejections may place these recipients at increased risk for cognitive difficulties post-transplant. Studies also suggested that approximately 20%-24% of pediatric heart transplant recipients experienced significant symptoms of psychological distress (e.g., anxiety, depression, behavior problems) during the first year post-transplant.


Research suggests that some recipients are at risk for cognitive and psychological difficulties post-transplant and may require additional academic remediation and/or psychological intervention to address these challenges. Given the limited number of empirical studies available at this time, continued research investigating cognitive and psychological outcomes following pediatric heart transplantation is needed.

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