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Free Content Lung Transplant Recipients Holding Companion Animals: Impact on Physical Health and Quality of Life

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Since lung transplant recipients are susceptible to infections and inhaled pollution, many centers warn against pets. However, data supporting this recommendation are lacking. Our program is less restrictive regarding pets. This study, for the first time, investigates the association of pets with physiological and psychological parameters in these patients. A questionnaire concerning pets was sent to 104 lung transplant recipients. Lung function tests, levels of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), need for antibiotic treatments and hospitalizations, creatinine clearance, body mass index (BMI) and demographic data were assessed. Additionally, the questionnaire of life satisfaction (FLZ), a question on summarized life satisfaction (LS), the life orientation test (LOT), the hospital anxiety depression scale (HADS) and the social support questionnaire (F-SozU) were assessed.

Response rate was 86%. Fifty-two percent defined themselves as pet owners, whereas 48% did not. The two groups did not differ in demographic or physiological data. Significant differences in FLZ (79/65, p = 0.04), in LS (4.3/3.9, p = 0.01), LOT (32/29, p = 0.006) and F-SozU (4.5/4.2, p = 0.04) were found in favor of pet owners. In lung transplant recipients keeping pets the frequency of somatic complications is not higher compared to lung transplant recipients without pets. After lung transplantation, pets are associated with a better quality of life.
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Keywords: Companion animal; Lung transplantation; Physical health; Quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Pulmonary Medicine, University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland 2: Department of Psychosocial Medicine, University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland

Publication date: 01 February 2006

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