Non-adherence to post-transplant care: Prevalence, risk factors and outcomes in adolescent liver transplant recipients


Rebecca K. Berquist, Departments of Pediatrics and Multi-Organ Transplantation, Stanford University, 750 Welch Rd, Ste 116, Palo Alto, 94304 CA, USA
Tel.: 650 723 5070
Fax: 650 498 5608


Abstract:  This study examined the prevalence, demographic variables and adverse outcomes associated with non-adherence to post-transplant care in adolescent liver transplant recipients. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 111 adolescent patients (age 12–21 yr) greater than six months post-transplantation and defined non-adherence as not taking the immunosuppressive(s) or not attending any clinic visit in 2005. Fifty subjects (45.0%) were non-adherent and 61 (55.0%) were adherent. Twenty percent of the subjects did not attend clinic and 10.9% did not complete laboratory tests. Non-adherence was significantly associated with fewer completed laboratory tests (p < 0.0001), single parent status (p < 0.0186), and older age and greater years post-transplantation by both univariate and multivariate analyses (p < 0.008, p < 0.0141 and p < 0.0012, p < 0.0174, respectively). Non-adherence to medication was significantly associated with a rejection episode in 31 patients (p < 0.0069) but not in the subgroup of seven patients who stopped their immunosuppression completely. Non-adherence to post-transplant care is a prevalent problem in adolescents particularly of an older age and greater years post-transplantation. Rejection was a significant consequence of medication non-adherence except in a subgroup with presumed graft tolerance who discontinued their immunosuppression. These results emphasize the need for strict monitoring of adherence to post-transplant care to improve long-term survival and quality of life in adolescent transplant patients.