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Pediatr Transplant. 2012 Feb;16(1):4-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2011.01633.x.

Should we retransplant a patient who is non-adherent? A literature review and critical reflection.

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Center for Health Services and Nursing Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


The majority of transplant centers around the world face an ethical debate whether to retransplant a young non-adherent patient. Non-adherence to lifelong immunosuppressants presents a significant risk for graft loss, yet rates remain consistently high. Despite a number of these patients presenting for retransplantation, there is little evidence to guide professionals in their decision-making. This paper aims to provide such guidance, by systematically reviewing the existing outcome data for retransplantation in patients who are known to be non-adherent to their immunosuppressants. This review searched for original papers that addressed retransplantation of a solid organ and included quantitative data on adherence or graft function. Only one original research paper was found to meet the inclusion criteria. This paper is reviewed, and details of the protocol to determine eligibility for retransplantation are summarized. The findings are discussed within the ethical context that transplant professionals work within, and the arguments for and against retransplantation are considered. The need for effective integration of adherence management into routine practice is highlighted, with an emphasis on reliable measurement of adherence throughout the patient's life. Examples of good practice are discussed, favoring prevention over cure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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