Background: Research examining age differences after heart transplant (HT) has focused primarily on morbidity and mortality outcomes, with little emphasis on potential age differences in quality of life and psychosocial outcomes. The objective of the study was to determine whether older patients have more positive adjustment and quality of life several years after HT compared with younger patients. Methods: The study recruited 555 patients who were at least 5 years post-HT from 4 United States medical centers. The sample included 165 older patients (< 60 years at HT), 300 middle-aged patients (between 45 and 59 years), and 90 younger patients (< 45 years). Of these, 78% were men, 88% were white, and most were well educated (14.04 mean years of education). Outcome measures examined quality of life, social support, mood, coping strategies, stress, health functioning, and adherence. Hypotheses regarding outcomes were derived from incidental findings from the original study. Results: Statistics included multivariate analyses of covariance, followed by univariate analyses of covariance that controlled for differences in sex, race, years of education, and marital status. Older HT patients were more satisfied with quality of life (p < 0.001) and social support (p = 0.003), had less HT-related stress (p < 0.001), negative affect (p < 0.001), depression (p < 0.001), better overall functioning (p = 0.035), less use of negative coping strategies (p = 0.006), less difficulty with adherence (p < 0.001), and better actual adherence (p < 0.001) than younger and middle-aged HT patients. Conclusions: Older patients in this large sample had better quality of life, psychosocial adjustment, and adherence after HT than middle-aged and younger patients. If replicated, this age advantage should at least be considered when assessing age as a criterion for HT clinical decision making and organ allocation policy.
- age differences
- heart transplant
- psychosocial outcomes
- quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine