Perspectives of US and Australian Hand Therapists About Pediatric Hand Transplantation

Prog Transplant. 2017 Mar;27(1):73-78. doi: 10.1177/1526924816679837. Epub 2016 Nov 23.


Introduction: Pediatric hand transplantation (PHT), an investigational therapy, was recently performed in the United States.

Research questions: Perspectives of hand therapists about PHT patient selection (inclusion and exclusion criteria), team configuration, patient assent, and patient compliance were explored.

Design: Quantitative survey. We used a research ethics committee-approved 18-question e-link anonymous questionnaire to survey members of the American Society of Hand Therapists and the Australian (AU) Hand Therapy Association for their perspectives on PHT.

Results: All surveyed hand therapists work with children (n = 18 Australia [AU], n = 85 United States) and some had been involved in adult hand transplant rehabilitation (28% AU, 21% United States; P = .543, not significant (NS)). The US and AU therapists differ regarding their opinions on multidisciplinary team membership, smoking as an exclusion criterion, and risk of posttransplant rehabilitation noncompliance.

Discussion: This research opens a dialogue on the clinical and ethical complexity of PHT, including team configuration, inclusion/exclusion criteria, the assent process, and rehabilitation access/compliance. Furthermore, international perspectives are informative as they highlight funding and access issues and can potentially guide global professional society policy.

Keywords: hand therapist; hand transplantation; patient care team; pediatrics; vascularized composite allotransplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Hand Transplantation / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapists / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States