Author(s): Martin JE, Zavala EY
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: The burgeoning clinical discipline and growth of organ transplantation has resulted in an expansion in the number of healthcare specialists to support clinical care and research. The past 10 yrs have seen a dramatic increase in the number of immunosuppressive agents and other medications used in transplantation, resulting in more complex medication regimens and greater potential for interactions, adverse effects and increased costs. PURPOSE: To determine how transplant pharmacists are being integrated into transplant clinical practice. Transplant centres were identified through UNOS Transplant Administrators Committee list serve. A survey was then distributed via e-mail to 159 individuals representing 118 solid organ transplant centres. RESULTS: Forty-one (35\%) of the 118 centres responded, with 36 evaluable surveys. Of the 36 centres, 28 (78\%) had transplant pharmacist support and eight did not have a pharmacist dedicated to transplant (two of the eight were recruiting). A majority of the respondents had multi-organ transplant responsibilities. Eighty-six per cent of pharmacists were involved in kidney transplant, 71\% in liver, 50\% in pancreas, 25\% in heart, and 7\% in lung. Pharmacist salaries were most often funded by a department of pharmacy (74\%), followed by college of pharmacy (12\%), transplant centre (8\%) and department of surgery (6\%). Almost all of the pharmacist's clinical practice time focused on post-transplant care (99\%). The average percentage of the pharmacist's time was: 43\% inpatient, 15\% outpatient, 14\% research, 6\% other transplant related, and 22\% non-transplant related. Of the 28 pharmacists, 25 had a PharmD degree, two a BS and one had a PhD in Pharmacy. The average number of organs transplanted among the responding centres was 99 kidneys, 45 livers, 28 pancreas, 14 heart, and 26 lungs. The number of transplants did not differ between the programmes with pharmacist clinical support vs. those without designated pharmacist support. CONCLUSION: The survey indicates that many solid organ transplant centres have incorporated transplant pharmacists into the multidisciplinary transplant clinical team. Transplant pharmacists are funded most often by the hospital pharmacy. Most transplant pharmacists spend the majority of their time in clinical practice, but also play a key role in research.
This article was published in Clin Transplant
and referenced in Journal of Nephrology & Therapeutics