Background: Lung transplantation provides a viable option for survival of end-stage respiratory disease. In addition to prolonging survival, there is considerable interest in improving patient-related outcomes such as transplant recipients' symptom experiences.
Methods: A prospective, repeated measures design was used to describe the symptom experience of 85 lung transplant recipients between 2000 and 2005. The transplant symptom inventory was administered before and at one, three, six, nine, and 12 months post-transplant. Ridit analysis provided a unique method for describing symptom experiences and changes.
Results: After lung transplantation, significant (p<0.05) improvements were reported for the most frequently occurring and most distressing pre-transplant symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath with activity). Marked increases in the frequency and distress of new symptoms such as tremors were also reported. Patterns of symptom frequency and distress varied with time since transplant.
Conclusion: The findings provide data-based information that can be used to inform pre- and post-transplant patient education and also help caregivers anticipate a general time frame for symptom changes to prevent or minimize symptoms and their associated distress. In addition, symptoms are described, using an innovative method of illustration which shows "at-a-glance" change or lack of change in patients' symptoms from pre- to post-lung transplant.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.