Neuropsychological functioning in preschool-aged children undergoing evaluation for organ transplant

Tanya N. Antonini, Stacey S. Beer, Tamir Miloh, William J. Dreyer, Susan E. Caudle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to review the current literature on neuropsychological functioning in two groups of children requiring organ transplants (liver or heart) and present recent clinical data collected through the liver and cardiac transplantation programs at a large pediatric academic medical center. Method: Data included in this study came from 18 patients who completed evaluations for heart transplant (n = 8) or liver transplant (n = 10) between the ages of 2 and 6 years (inclusive). Measures examining neurocognitive, emotional-behavioral, and adaptive functioning were collected as part of standard pre-transplant clinical neuropsychological evaluations. Within each organ group, mean scores were calculated and compared with normative population mean scores using one sample t-tests. In addition, non-parametric binomial tests were calculated to examine whether the proportion of individuals falling more than one standard deviation below the population mean was significantly greater in the patient groups than the normative population base rate of 16%. Results: Patients in both groups performed below normative expectation in several neurocognitive and adaptive domains. However, neither group showed significant difficulties in behavioral or emotional regulation. Conclusions: Results from this study document cognitive delays in preschool-aged children undergoing evaluations for liver transplant or heart transplant, highlighting the importance of intervention and long-term monitoring of these two patient populations, as well as the need for neuropsychologist involvement with transplant teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-370
Number of pages19
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • cognitive functioning
  • heart transplant
  • liver transplant
  • Solid organ failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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