Looking Beyond the Transplant: The Effects of Heart Transplant on Patient Education and Risk Behaviour
CPS ePoster Library. Aujnarain A. 06/01/17; 176566; 5
Dr. Amiirah Aujnarain
Dr. Amiirah Aujnarain
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Background: We suspected that adolescent heart transplant patients had a different profile of risk behaviours and educational functioning than the general population. To plan for appropriate clinical support for them, we need to move beyond suspicion to actual data. This information will provide insight into the lives of heart transplant adolescents and contribute to a plan for appropriate care.

Objectives: To plan for appropriate clinical supports for adolescents who have undergone heart transplants based on their psychosocial needs.

Methods: A chart review was conducted on patients who had undergone a heart transplant and were born between 1983 and 2000. Data regarding educational supports and achievement along with psychosocial outcomes and factors including job status, mood, bullying and alcohol or drug use was collected. Prevalence measurements were calculated based on binary numbers assigned to yes and no answers. Unknown data was not included.

Results: There were 70 patients who met our search criteria. Our data showed 44% of patients demonstrated academic/intellectual abilities below age expected levels. At least 25% had special educational needs (including intellectual or learning disability, or individualized educational plan), 17% were bullied and 34% had a mood rating of 5 out of 10 or lower. Examination of risk behaviours revealed that 30% of patients consumed alcohol below the legal drinking age, fewer than 20% had tried drugs, and 8% had smoked at least one cigarette.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that adolescents who underwent heart transplantation are at risk of being below age appropriate grade level at school. Furthermore, at least a quarter of the patients require special educational supports. This is a finding not discussed in the literature previously. The values for alcohol, drugs, cigarette use and are lower than provincial norms. Interventions to promote educational attainment, address mood and help adolescents cope with bullying should be given priority, while not ignoring risk behaviours even though they occur less frequently than in the general population.

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