Solid organ transplantation: are there predictors for posttransplant noncompliance? A literature overview

Transplantation. 2000 Sep 15;70(5):711-6. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200009150-00001.


Background: Many studies confirm that noncompliance or poor compliance is one of the great problems in health care as it results in waste of resources and funds.

Methods: This overview includes literature on heart, liver, and kidney transplants with emphasis on heart transplantation in adult and pediatric transplant patients and addresses the following variables as potential predictors of postoperative compliance problems: demographic variables (age, marital status, gender) psychological variables (anxiety, denial) psychiatric disorders (major depression, anxiety, and personality disorders), poor social support, pretransplant noncompliance, obesity, substance abuse, and health-related variables (distance from transplant center, indication for transplantation, required pretransplant assist device). Relevant studies on these topics that were conducted up to 1999 are included and discussed in this overview. The most important results are presented in tables.

Results: Unfortunately, there has not been any systematic and comprehensive review of the literature on predictors of noncompliance in organ transplant patients so far. With organ transplantation noncompliance impairs both life quality and life span as it is a major risk factor for graft rejection episodes and is responsible for up to 25% of deaths after the initial recovery period. Therefore, it might be assumed that well-informed transplant patients are a highly motivated group whose compliance is just as high. This is not the case. However, even when graft loss means loss of life as in heart or liver transplantation, noncompliance occurs. To best select potential organ recipients, it would be ideal if patients who are very likely to show noncompliant behavior could be identified already before being transplanted.

Conclusion: The literature overview shows the necessity of preoperative psychosocial screening regarding predictors for posttransplant noncompliance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation* / psychology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Social Support
  • Treatment Refusal