Early Survivorship after Liver Transplantation: A Qualitative Study Identifying Challenges in Recovery From The Patient and Caregiver Perspective.



Survivorship after liver transplantation (LT) is a novel concept providing a holistic view of the arduous recovery experienced after transplantation. We explored components of early survivorship including physical, emotional, and psychocological challenges to identify intervention targets for improving the recovery process of LT recipients and caregivers.


Twenty in-person interviews were conducted among adults 3-6 months post-LT. Trained qualitative research experts conducted interviews, coded, and analyzed transcripts to identify relevant themes and representative quotes.


Early survivorship comprises overcoming: 1) physical challenges-the most-challenging experiences involving mobility, driving, dietary modifications, and medication adherence and 2) emotional and psychological challenges-including new health concerns, financial worries, body image/identity struggles, social isolation, dependency issues, and concerns about never returning to normal. Etiology of liver disease informed survivorship experiences including some patients with hepatocellular carcinoma expressing decisional regret or uncertainty in light of their post-LT experiences. Important topics were identified that framed LT recovery including setting expectations about waitlist experiences, hospital recovery, and ongoing medication requirements.


Early survivorship after LT within the first six months involves a wide array of physical, emotional and psychological challenges. Patients and caregivers identified what they wish they had known prior to transplant and strategies for recovery, which can inform targeted LT survivorship interventions.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Lieber, Sarah R, Hannah P Kim, Luke Baldelli, Rebekah Nash, Randall Teal, Gabrielle Magee, Chirag S Desai, Marci M Loiselle, et al. (2021). Early Survivorship after Liver Transplantation: A Qualitative Study Identifying Challenges in Recovery From The Patient and Caregiver Perspective. Liver transplantation : official publication of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society. 10.1002/lt.26303 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23929.

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Marci M Loiselle

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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