Report of the Psychosocial Outcomes Workgroup of the Nursing and Social Sciences Council of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation: present status of research on psychosocial outcomes in cardiothoracic transplantation: review and recommendations for the field
Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation vol:25 issue:6 pages:716-725
Cardiothoracic transplantation's success at prolonging life--and its economic costs--must be considered relative to its psychosocial benefits and costs. Moreover, psychosocial outcomes themselves influence long-term post-transplant morbidity and mortality rates. Although psychosocial outcomes--encompassing patients' physical, psychologic and social functioning, their management of their medical regimen and global quality of life--are the focus of many recent studies, these investigations have yet to yield many evidence-based interventions that are routinely applied to improve patient outcomes. Our goals were to summarize existing work on psychosocial outcomes, delineate areas requiring attention, offer recommendations for steps to advance the field, and thereby provide an impetus for the conduct of clinical trials of interventions to improve these outcomes. We concluded that research must generally shift away from descriptive studies and toward prospective and clinical trial designs to: (a) examine a full range of risk factors and clinical sequelae of patients' psychosocial status; and (b) evaluate the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions. In addition, these issues must be considered across all cardiothoracic recipients, including not only heart recipients but the less-studied populations of lung and heart-lung recipients, and must include longer-term (5+ years) outcomes than is typical in most work. The importance of adequately sized samples to ensure statistical power, and the need to construct study samples representative of the larger cardiothoracic transplant population, cannot be overestimated. Implementing these changes in research design and substantive focus will ensure that psychosocial outcomes research will have maximum impact on transplant recipients' clinical care.