Giving young organ transplant recipients a mobile reminder that might save their lives

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In the U.S., more than 1,700 children receive organ transplants each year. Following transplantation, they must take immunosuppressants and steroids to protect their transplanted organ from being attacked by their own immune system.

But transplant teams know that kids are 60 percent more likely than adults to struggle with keeping a strict medication schedule. That puts the longevity of donated organs — and the lives of organ recipients — at unnecessary risk.

This challenge inspired a team of pediatric transplant experts at the Boston Children’s Hospital to develop a mobile application for smartphones that could serve as a portable reminder and a resource to support medication adherence.

“Medication adherence is a huge factor in the life of a graft,” says Kristine McKenna, PhD, a transplant psychologist at Boston Children’s who designed the app with Vivonics, a Massachusetts medical technology company, and Jennifer Gilarde, PharmD, a transplant pharmacist at Boston Children’s. “It’s a huge health behavior change that we ask patients to embrace. Teaching organ recipients to properly and promptly take their daily medications helps to preserve the life of the organ and to improve their quality of life.”

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About the Author:

Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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