Patient preferences of patient selection criteria for upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation: A qualitative study

Karen B. Vanterpool, Jessica Gacki-Smith, Max C. Downey, Michelle Nordstrom, Michelle Luken, Tiffany Riggleman, Shannon Fichter, Withney Altema, Sally E. Jensen, Gregory A. Dumanian, Carisa M. Cooney, Macey L. Levan, Scott Tintle, Gerald Brandacher, Elisa J. Gordon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation is a life-enhancing reconstructive treatment option that aims to improve recipients’ quality of life and maximize function. This study assessed upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation patient selection criteria perceptions among individuals with upper extremity limb loss. The perceptions of individuals with upper extremity limb loss on patient selection criteria may enable vascularized composite allotransplantation centers to improve criteria to avoid mismatched expectations about the posttransplant vascularized composite allotransplantation experience and outcomes. Realistic patient expectations may increase patient adherence, improve outcomes, and reduce vascularized composite allotransplantation graft loss. Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with civilian and military service members with upper extremity limb loss and upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation candidates, participants, and recipients from three US institutions. Interviews assessed perceptions of patient selection criteria for suitability as a candidate for upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Results: A total of 50 individuals participated (66% participation rate). Most participants were male (78%), White (72%), with a unilateral limb loss (84%), and a mean age of 45 years. Six themes emerged regarding upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation patient selection criteria, including support for candidates who: (1) are of younger age, (2) are in good physical health, (3) have mental stability, (4) are willing to “put in the work,” (5) have specific amputation characteristics, and (6) have sufficient social support. Patients had preferences about selecting candidates with unilateral versus bilateral limb loss. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that numerous factors, including medical, social, and psychological characteristics, inform patients’ perceptions of patient selection criteria for upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation. Patient perceptions of patient selection criteria should inform the development of validated screening measures that optimize patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hand transplantation
  • amputation
  • candidate evaluation
  • eligibility criteria
  • ethics
  • interviews
  • limb loss
  • patient expectations
  • perceptions
  • rehabilitation

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