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  1. Brown, Patricia A. RN, BSN, MBA
  2. Launius, Beatrice K. MSN, RN, ACNP, CCRN
  3. Mancini, Mary C. MD, PhD
  4. Cush, Eleanor M. BS, MS


Depression and anxiety are potential psychological problems that a heart transplant patient may face both before and after transplant. In addition, there is the potential for difficulty in adjusting to life after transplantation. Anxiety and depression and their effects, both pretransplant and posttransplant, are explored. A case study is used to illustrate the psychological effects of transplantation.


HEART transplantation, wonderful words for the end stage heart patient. "New opportunities, new life, second chances. If only I could get on that list." Most heart transplant patients visualize this as an opportunity for a new life. "Oh how wonderful, I've made it on the list; I know they will have a heart for me soon." Then 1 month goes by, then 2, 3 and before they know it, it has been a year since being placed on the list. Anxiety and fear begin to creep through; depression takes hold. Suddenly, the phone rings. "They have a heart. Oh no, what if something goes wrong? What if I don't wake up?" Then later after transplant: "I've made it through the surgery-it's smooth sailing now." Eventually: "It's taking longer than I expected to recover. I don't know if I can do this." Reality sets in. Anxiety and fear begin to infiltrate their thoughts, and then depression takes hold.