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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


COSTA, Sílvia  and  GUERRA, Marina Prista. The loss and grief process in the heart transplant patient. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2009, vol.10, n.1, pp.49-55. ISSN 1645-0086.

The authors seek to analyse the Heart Transplant procedure (H.T.) as a challenging process from the biopsychosocial point of view, and not merely as a disruptive life event. In this analysis, the emerging emotional adjustments and ensuing losses of the patient will be considered. An uneven balance between hope and loss takes over the patient’s life; the diagnosis of a terminal cardiomyopathy, with the incapacitating suffering and feeling of imminent death which derive from severe heart failure, the ambivalent perspective of the transplantation procedure and the highly demanding biological and psychological post H.T. and post hospital discharge periods. The demanding and unique nature of the grieving process experienced by the transplant recipient will also be covered, given the strong cognitive and symbolic role of the heart, and the fact that the graft is provided by a cadaver donor. Finally, attention will be given to the grieving process as a whole experience, culminating in a fulfilling existential journey for the Person.

Keywords : Grief Process; Heart; Heart Transplant; Meaning of Life.

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