Survival following heart transplantation is associated with several patient characteristics, including patient education, higher social and economic satisfaction, and patient adherence with medications, according to a study published in the March 2013 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Researchers with the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, led by Steven A. Farmer, MD, PhD, examined demographic, behavioral, and health-related quality of life factors associated with mortality 5 to 10 years after heart transplantation in a nonrandom sample of 555 patients drawn from an existing multisite dataset.
The authors found that attainment of at least a high school education and a higher number of years of education completed were among the patient characteristics associated with increased survival.
"We [also] demonstrated that higher social and economic satisfaction on items related to home, neighborhood, community, work and financial needs is associated with improved survival after heart transplantation," wrote Dr. Farmer and colleagues.
Patients with coexisting cardiovascular and hematologic illnesses, such as low white cell count, had worse survival, as did patients with a larger number of cumulative infections and hospital readmissions.
"Heart transplantation is a lifesaving operation for patients with advanced heart failure, and survival is excellent," Dr. Farmer said. "However, our findings demonstrate that a wide range of factors predict long-term survival after heart transplantation, including medical and non-medical patient characteristics. A holistic understanding of patients—both before and after transplantation—is essential to improving survival."