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A heart transplant is often a life changing surgery. As is the case with various other chronic medical problems, heart transplant recipients are at increased risk for the development of significant psychiatric symptoms and diagnosable psychiatric disorders.
Up to 50% of patients with advanced cardiac disease experience anxiety or depression. Following transplant up 63% of heart recipients develop anxiety and/or depression during the first post-transplant year.
In heart failure, low cardiac output and poor blood flow to the brain can contribute to cognitive impairment, even in the absence of an actual stroke. Cardiac medications can also contribute to cognitive impairments. In the case of patients on ventricular assist devices, micro emboli may be a contributing cause of brain dysfunction.