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Who returns to work after heart transplantation?


White-Williams, C.; Jalowiec, A.; Grady, K.


International Society for Heart Transplantation


The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 2005, Volume 24 (Number 12), Seite 2255-2261, New York: Elsevier, ISSN: 1053-2498





Detailed information regarding the work history of heart transplant patients is limited. Therefore, the work history and factors associated with return to work at 1 year after heart transplantation were examined in 237 heart transplant patients as part of a longitudinal quality-of-life study at two university medical centers. Patient characteristics were as follows: 81 % male; 89 % white; mean age 54 years (range 24 to 71); mean level of education 13 years; and 84 % were married.


Data were collected using the following instruments: Work History tool; Rating Question Form; Heart Transplant Stressor Scale; Quality of Life Index; Sickness Impact Profile; Jalowiec Coping Scale; Social Support Index; Heart Transplant Symptom Checklist; and Chart Review Form. Frequency distributions, chi-square, t-tests and stepwise regression were used to examine the work history of patients.


Pre-transplant, only 17 % of patients were working as compared with 26 % (61 of 237) working by 1 year after transplant (p = 0. 003). Pre-transplant non-working patients (n = 197) were hospitalized more frequently, were more physically disabled, had more symptom distress, and rated their health as poorer. After heart transplant non-working patients (n = 176) had more rejection, infection and medical complications and more hospital days. Patients who were working either pre- or post-transplant were more likely to hold jobs that were less physically demanding. Factors significantly associated with return to work by 1 year after heart transplant were better functional ability, higher education, fewer endocrine problems, fewer acute rejection episodes and shorter heart transplant waiting time.


Clinical and demographic variables influence return to work after heart transplantation. Knowledge of these variables provides the health-care team with information to assist patients in securing gainful employment.

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The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation

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Informationsstand: 11.01.2006

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