The psychological experiences of adult heart transplant recipients: A systematic review and meta-summary of qualitative findings

Aaron Conway, Verena Schadewaldt, Robyn Clark, Chantal Ski, David R. Thompson, Lynn Doering

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Psychosocial factors and physical health are associated with increased psychological distress post-heart transplant. Integrating findings from qualitative studies could highlight mechanisms for how these factors contribute to psychological well-being, thus aiding the development of interventions. Objective: To integrate qualitative findings regarding adult heart transplant recipients experiences, such as their emotions, perceptions and attitudes. Methods: A systematic review and meta-summary were conducted. Data from seven studies were categorized into 16 abstracted findings. Results: The most prominent finding across the studies related to recipients' perceptions of the importance of social support. Other prominent findings related to factors that promoted psychological well-being, such as faith, optimism and sense of control. Conclusions: Psychological well-being may be improved by enhancing perceived control over health and daily life, promoting an optimistic outlook by facilitating access to social support from other heart transplant recipients and ensuring post-transplant recipient-caregiver partnerships adequately support the transition back to independence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-455
Number of pages7
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Cardiac transplant
  • Depression
  • Heart transplant
  • Meta-summary
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Qualitative
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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