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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2013 Apr;32(4):437-46. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2012.12.012.

Factors associated with stress and coping at 5 and 10 years after heart transplantation.

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  • 1Division of Cardiac Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611-3056, USA.



Heart transplant-related stressors and coping are related to poor outcomes early after transplant. The purposes of our study were to (1) identify the most frequent and bothersome stressors and most used and effective coping strategies and (2) compare the most frequent and bothersome stresses and most used and effective coping styles between patients at 5 and 10 years after heart transplantation. We also examined differences in coping styles by patient characteristics and factors associated with frequency and intensity of stress at 5 and 10 years after heart transplantation.


This report is a secondary analysis of data from a prospective, multisite study of quality of life outcomes. Data are from separate cohorts of 199 patients at 5 years after transplant and 98 patients at 10 years. Patients completed the Heart Transplant Stressor Scale and Jalowiec Coping Scale. Statistical analyses included frequencies, measures of central tendency, t-tests, chi-square, and generalized linear models.


At 5 and 10 years after heart transplantation, the most bothersome stressors were regarding work, school, and financial issues. Patients who were 10 years after transplant reported less stress, similar stress intensity, and less use and perceived effectiveness of negative coping than patients who were 5 years after transplant. Long-term after transplant, demographic characteristics, psychologic problems, negative coping, and clinical factors were related to stress frequency and/or intensity.


Heart transplant-related stress occurs long-term after surgery. Types of transplant-related stress and factors related to stress confirm the importance of ongoing psychologic and clinical support after heart transplantation.

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