Psychosocial evaluation of heart transplant candidates: an international survey of process, criteria, and outcomes

J Heart Lung Transplant. Nov-Dec 1991;10(6):948-55.


Heart transplant programs were surveyed regarding psychosocial evaluation process, criteria, and outcomes. There was considerable disagreement among programs when a patient is rejected on psychosocial grounds with regard to the use of second opinions and how often patients are informed of the reasons. Wide discrepancies in criteria used and rates of patients refused on psychosocial grounds were discovered. More than 70% of all programs excluded patients for transplantation on the grounds of dementia, active schizophrenia, current suicidal ideation, history of multiple suicide attempts, severe mental retardation, current heavy alcohol use, and current use of addictive drugs. Lack of consensus was found for some exclusion criteria (cigarette smoking, obesity, noncompliance, recent alcohol or drug abuse, criminality, personality disorder, mild mental retardation, controlled schizophrenia, and affective disorder). The proportion of patients rejected for transplantation on psychosocial grounds ranged from 0% to 37%, with an average rate of 5.6% in the United States and 2.5% in non-U.S. programs. This survey thus supports the need for research on the validity and reliability of psychosocial selection criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Contraindications
  • Data Collection
  • Europe
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Refusal to Treat
  • United Kingdom
  • United States