What Survivorship Means to Liver Transplant Recipients-Qualitative Groundwork for A Survivorship Conceptual Model.


Background & aims

Survivorship is a well-established concept in the cancer care continuum with a focus on disease recurrence, quality of life, and minimizing competing risks for mortality; however, this has not been well studied in liver transplantation (LT). We aimed to investigate what survivorship means to LT patients and identify motivations and coping strategies for overcoming challenges after LT.

Approach & results

Twenty in-depth home interviews were conducted among adults 3 to 6 months after LT. Interviews were conducted by trained qualitative research experts, coded and analyzed using an inductive approach. A majority of LT recipients (75%) identified themselves as survivors. Integral to the definition of survivorship was overcoming hardship (including experiences on the waitlist) and the unique experience of being given a "second chance" at life. Motivations to survive included: 1) honoring a new chance at life (55%), 2) family (40%), 3) spirituality/faith (30%), and 4) fear of rejection (15%). LT recipients and caregivers identified multiple strategies to cope with post-LT challenges including relying on a large network of community, spiritual, and virtual support. These findings informed a conceptual model of LT survivorship based on socioecological theory, which identified the following variables influencing survivorship: 1) pre-transplant experiences, 2) individual attributes and challenges, 3) interpersonal relationships with caregivers and other social support, 4) community relationships, and, 5) largescale factors including neighborhood and financial issues.


LT recipients identify themselves as survivors, and post-LT identities were greatly influenced by pre-LT experiences. These perspectives informed an in depth conceptual model of survivorship after transplantation. We identified sources of motivation and coping strategies used in LT recovery that could be targets of survivorship interventions aimed at improving post-LT outcomes.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Lieber, Sarah R, Hannah P Kim, Luke Baldelli, Rebekah Nash, Randall Teal, Gabrielle Magee, Marci M Loiselle, Chirag S Desai, et al. (2021). What Survivorship Means to Liver Transplant Recipients-Qualitative Groundwork for A Survivorship Conceptual Model. Liver transplantation : official publication of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society. 10.1002/lt.26088 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23302.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Marci M Loiselle

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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