Adherence of Heart Transplant Recipients to Prescribed Medication and Recommended Lifestyle Habits: A Single-Center Experience

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Nonadherence may cause severe health problems in heart transplant (HTx) recipients.

Research Questions:

The present study aimed to investigate adherence to prescribed medication and recommended lifestyle habits in post-HTx patients and to assess associations between adherence, quality of life (QOL), and psychological well-being.


A questionnaire package was sent to all HTx patients from our clinic (n = 858) to answer questions anonymously on medication adherence, dietary recommendations (avoidance of raw animal products and ice cream), pet keeping (risk of zoonosis), anxiety and depression, QOL, and posttraumatic stress disorders.


Of the contacted patients, 524 (61%) responded and 505 fulfilled the inclusion criteria (age ≥18 years and ability to understand German). Of the study participants, 72.4% reported taking their medications very correctly, 72.2% stated consuming alcohol less often than once a week, 58.3% performed physical exercise at least once a week, one-third reported eating nonrecommended foods, 22.1% stated pet keeping, and 4.3% reported smoking. Adherence to prescribed medication was positively associated with age (P < .001) and mental QOL (P = .015) but was unrelated to eating nonrecommended foods (P > .05). Depressiveness correlated inversely with physical QOL (r = −0.232; P < .01) and mental QOL (r = −0.411; P < .01). Stress disorders and minor stressful events were reported by 7.8% and 46.6%, respectively. Stress disorders correlated inversely with mental QOL (r = −0.282; P < .01) and physical QOL (r = −0.422; P < .01).


Many HTx patients adhere to prescribed medications and health advice. Nevertheless, nonadherence is a problem, especially in younger HTx patients, indicating the need for a nonadherence crisis intervention program for long-term HTx patients.

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