At the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, Japan, pharmacists have been involved in drug treatment management and patient care as members of multidisciplinary heart transplant teams that include surgeons, physicians, recipient transplant coordinators, and nurses during the waiting period for heart transplantation (HTx), HTx surgery, and post-HTx. During the waiting period, pharmacists play an important role in adjusting the use of antibiotics, anticoagulants, and antiarrhythmics by patients receiving a ventricular assist device (VAD). During HTx surgery and post-HTx, pharmacists advise physicians regarding the individualized medication protocol for immunosuppression and infection prevention to be used for each patient based on the patient’s pre-HTx characteristics as well as gene polymorphisms. They thus contribute to reducing the burden on the physician through the sharing of tasks. Throughout all three phases of HTx, pharmacists repeatedly provide medication and adherence education to the patients and caregivers. It is hoped that an academic society-led training protocol as well as transplant pharmacists will be established in Japan and other developed countries, and that these specialized transplant pharmacists would then provide individualized pharmacotherapy for the use of various antibiotics, anticoagulants, and immunosuppressive agents that have a narrow range of treatment in VAD and HTx patients.
Part of the book: Heart Transplantation