Patient definitions of transplant success in upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation: A mixed-methods study

Max C. Downey, Jessica Gacki-Smith, Brianna Kuramitsu, Karen B. Vanterpool, Michelle Nordstrom, Michelle Luken, Whitney Langlee, Tiffany Riggleman, Shannon Fichter, Withney Altema, Sally E. Jensen, Gregory A. Dumanian, Carisa M. Cooney, Macey L. Levan, Scott Tintle, Gerald Brandacher, Elisa J. Gordon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation is an innovative treatment option for people with upper extremity amputations. Limited patient-relevant long-term outcomes data about transplant success may impede patients’ informed treatment decision-making. We assessed perceptions of what constitutes upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation success among individuals with upper extremity amputations. Methods: This multisite study entailed interviews and focus groups with individuals with upper extremity amputations and upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation candidates, participants, and recipients. We examined perceptions of transplant success and preferences for five upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation outcomes. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis; and quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: In all, 50 individuals participated in interviews (61.7% participation rate), and 37 participated in nine focus groups (75.5% participation rate). Most were White (72%, 73%), had a mean age of 45 and 48 years, and had a unilateral amputation (84%, 59%), respectively. Participants conceptualized upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation success as transplant outcomes: (1) restoring function and sensation to enable new activities; (2) accepting the transplanted limb into one’s identity and appearance; (3) not having transplant rejection; (4) attaining greater quality of life compared to prosthetics; and (5) ensuring benefits outweigh risks. Participants rated their most important upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation outcomes as follows: not having transplant rejection, not developing health complications, grasping objects, feeling touch and temperature, and accepting the upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation into your identity. Conclusion: Individuals with upper extremity amputations maintain several conceptions of vascularized composite allotransplantation success, spanning functional, psychosocial, clinical, and quality of life outcomes. Providers should address patients’ conceptions of success to improve informed consent discussions and outcomes reporting for upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

Keywords

  • VCA
  • expectations
  • outcomes
  • perspectives
  • upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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