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J Heart Lung Transplant. 1996 Jun;15(6):631-45.

Medical compliance and its predictors in the first year after heart transplantation.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Medical Center, PA 15213, USA.



Although poor medical compliance is a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality after heart transplantation, no prospective data are available on rates of noncompliance with each component of the posttransplantation regimen. Little is known about the impact of health history, sociodemographic, or perioperative psychosocial variables on long-term compliance.


Compliance in eight domains was examined in a cohort of 101 heart recipients followed through the first year after transplantation. Patients received detailed interviews at 2, 7, and 12 months after transplantation. Additional corroborative information was obtained from family member interviews and nurse evaluations. Potential predictors of noncompliance were obtained from medical record reviews and from initial patient interviews. Predictors pertained to cardiac-related history, psychiatric history, sociodemographic variables, and perioperative psychosocial status (psychologic adaptation, social supports, coping strategies).


Although degree of noncompliance varied across timepoints, rates of persistent noncompliance during the year were as follows: 37% (exercise); 34% (monitoring blood pressure); 20% (medications); 19% (smoking); 18% (diet); 15% (having blood work completed); 9% (clinic attendance); and 6% (heavy drinking). Compliance in most areas worsened significantly (p < 0.05) over time. Background health-related and sociodemographic characteristics showed no significant influence on any area of posttransplantation compliance. Perioperative psychosocial characteristics were strong and significant predictors of noncompliance.


Pretransplantation screening for background and demographic variables may have limited utility for compliance outcomes. Strategies to improve compliance should focus on psychosocial risk factors pertaining to early psychologic reactions to transplantation, the quality of family relationships, and patients' styles of coping. These risk factors are each potentially modifiable through appropriate educational and supportive interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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