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Compliance and late acute rejection after kidney transplantation: a psycho-medical perspective


Rahul M. Jindal MD, FRCS, MSc Department of Surgery, University of Glasgow, Western Infirmary, 44 Church Street, Glasgow G11 6NT, UK. Tel.: 0141-211-2163; fax: 0141-211-1972; e-mail:


Introduction: We examined the relationship between late acute rejection (LAR) after cadaveric kidney transplantation and medical compliance utilizing a modified version of the Long-term Medication Behaviour Self-efficacy Scale (LTMBS-scale), a validated patient self-report questionnaire. The original LTMBS-scale uses a five-point scale, however, our pilot study showed that patients found it difficult to discriminate between the five options. We therefore modified this to a three-point scale.

Patientsand methods: We carried out a retrospective analysis of all patients who received a kidney transplant in our unit in the cyclosporin (CyA) era. We divided rejections into early and late rejection based on the time interval after transplantation. Graft rejection was confirmed by biopsy; LAR was defined as acute rejection occurring after 90 d. We retrospectively administered the modified LTMBS-scale to determine individual patient confidence and self-efficacy in taking their medications in a variety of situations (home, work, leisure, psychological and physical). Individual patient confidence and self-efficacy was analysed in relationship to compliance behaviour.

Results: Twenty-four questionnaires were distributed, 22 (92%) were returned fully completed. The overall results suggested that our patients surveyed were not particularly confident (mean score 2.17 out of maximum possible 3) in taking their medications in a variety of contexts. They demonstrated significantly less confidence (mean score 1.0) when experiencing physical (brittle bones, feeling `ill') and psychological (`sadness') side-effects of medication and emotional reactions to the experience of chronic illness.

Conclusion: Negative physical and psychological states were related to low self-efficacy with the taking of immunosuppressive medication, non-compliance and subsequent LAR in our cohort of patients.