Although transplantation medicine is not new, there is a clinically justified gap in the existing literature with respect to the psychological processing of lung transplants. The present study aims to examine whether lung transplantation leads to an actualization of psychological, e.g., oral-sadistic fantasies. Following a qualitative approach, 38 lung transplant patients were interviewed three times within the first six months after transplantation. Data analysis focused on identifying unconscious and conscious material. The inter-rater reliability for all codes was calculated using Krippendorff's Alpha (c-α-binary = 0.94). Direct and implicit evidence of a so-called transplantation complex was detected e.g., regarding the "incorporation" of the dead donor and his lungs. These processes occur predominantly at an imaginary level and are related to the body. Our findings emphasize that such psychological aspects should be borne in mind in the psychological treatment of lung-transplant patients in order to improve the processing of lung transplants, and that this might have a positive effect on patient adherence.
Keywords: axis of psychosomatic totality; depth-hermeneutic method; grounded theory; imaginary zone; lung transplantation; transplantation complex; unconscious processing.