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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2012 Apr;31(4):381-6. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2011.11.014. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Perceived quality of life of children after successful bridging to heart transplantation.

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Cardiorespiratory Department, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK.



Mechanical circulatory support is increasingly used to bridge children with end-stage heart failure to transplant. Quality of life (QoL) has not been systematically evaluated in children bridged to heart transplant.


All children transplanted for cardiomyopathy during 2001 to 2008 and currently being followed at our center (n = 84) had QoL assessed during 2006 to 2009, at a median of 3 years post-transplant, using a validated generic measure (PedsQL4.0).


Twenty-six children, aged 2.7 to 18 (median 7.4) years who were bridged to transplant, were compared with 58 children, aged 2.0 to 18.0 (median 13.0) years, who were transplanted in the same era without bridging. There were no significant differences between the 2 groups on any domains of QoL assessed by children or parents, although the small number of bridged patients increases the likelihood of a Type II error. Bridged children who were younger (r = 0.48, p = 0.02) or more recently transplanted (r = 0.42, p = 0.04) were scored by their parents as having poorer emotional QoL. Regression analysis indicated that age at transplant was the only medical or demographic variable associated with parent-reported total QoL scores (β = 0.27, p = 0.01). With few links between QoL scores and medical or demographic factors, other subjective psychologic factors may be of greater salience in determining QoL.


Despite greater severity of illness, children who required mechanical bridging to transplantation report a QoL comparable to that of other children undergoing heart transplantation. Younger children may require greater psychologic support to reach their full potential in terms of QoL.

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