Predictors and Outcomes of Health-Related Quality of Life in Caregivers of Cardiothoracic Transplant Recipients

Authors

  • L. Myaskovsky,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA
    2. Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
    3. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • D. M. Posluszny,

    1. Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • R. Schulz,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
    2. Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
    3. Department of Sociology, Community Health, and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • A. F. DiMartini,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
    2. Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • G. E. Switzer,

    1. Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA
    2. Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
    3. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • A. DeVito Dabbs,

    1. Department of Acute & Tertiary Care, University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • M. L. McNulty,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • R. L. Kormos,

    1. Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • Y. Toyoda,

    1. Department of Surgery, Temple University, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • M. A. Dew

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
    2. Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
    3. Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
    4. Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • The contents do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the US Government.

Larissa Myaskovsky, larissa.myaskovsky@va.gov

Abstract

Cardiothoracic transplant programs generally require that transplant recipients have family caregivers to assist them posttransplant. The burden of caregiving on the family members remains poorly understood. If caregivers’ well-being is compromised by caregiving, it may bode poorly for transplant recipients’ own health in the long-term posttransplant. We examined caregiver health-related quality of life (HRQOL) during the first year after their family member's transplant, its predictors and its relationship to subsequent patient survival. Adult (aged 18+) caregivers of 242 cardiothoracic transplant recipients (lung = 134; heart = 108) completed assessments of demographics, psychosocial characteristics and caregiver burden at 2 months posttransplant, and HRQOL at 2, 7 and 12 months posttransplant. Recipients’ survival time was obtained from medical records. Caregiver HRQOL was generally high across the first-year posttransplant in emotional and social functioning; caregiver physical functioning significantly worsened. There were no differences by type of recipient transplant. Greater caregiver burden predicted poorer caregiver HRQOL in several physical domains at 12 months posttransplant. Transplant recipients whose caregivers had lower perceived general health at 12 months posttransplant showed poorer survival rates during the subsequent 7 years of follow up. Transplant teams should identify those caregivers at risk for poorer general health posttransplant to maximize positive outcomes for the entire family.

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