Factors Associated with Return to Work After Heart Transplantation: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Am J Med Sci. 2021 Dec;362(6):586-591. doi: 10.1016/j.amjms.2021.06.022. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


Background: Heart transplantation represents one of the last treatment options for advanced heart failure. Little is known about the factors associated with return to work in patients after heart transplantation. The aim of this study was to identify those factors.

Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted in the PubMed, LILACS, SCIELO and ScienceDirect databases using the keywords "trasplante cardiaco", "calidad de vida", "reingreso laboral", "return to work", "heart transplantation" and "occupation related". Quantitative studies with patients over 18 years of age that were published between January 2007 and June 2017 were included.

Results: A total of 6 articles were included, none from Latin America. Heart transplantation patients had a mean age of 51 years; approximately 17% were over 65 years of age; 73-84% were males; 7-16.4% were professionals; 70-86.6% were previously employed; and 30-60% returned to work. The following factors were related to return to work: higher education (p = 0.0017), young age (p = 0.003), better scores on the physical and mental domains of the SF-36 questionnaire (p = 0.035), higher six-minute walk test results (median of 560 m), and previous employment with less than 24 months interrupted by the inability to work (p = 0.017). Return to work occurred, on average, 6 to 7.5 months after heart transplantation.

Conclusions: Return to work after heart transplantation is variable, with a tendency to be low, and is lower in patients near to retirement age. Protective factors were related to the social, physical and mental environment.

Keywords: Heart transplantation; Return to work.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Return to Work*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires