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Marijuana in pediatric and adult congenital heart disease heart transplant listing: A survey of provider practices and attitudes

Phillips, K. A.; Thrush, P. T.; Lal, A. K.; Kindel, S. J.; Castleberry, C.; Sparks, J.; Daly, K. P.; Johnson, J. N.

Pediatr Transplant. 2020 Jan 22; 24(2):e13640


Despite increasing legalization and use of marijuana, there is no consensus among pediatric heart transplant institutions or providers regarding users' eligibility for cardiac transplant. We sent a survey to pediatric and ACHD transplant providers (physicians, surgeons, transplant coordinators, and pharmacists) assessing their current institution's policies and their personal opinions about marijuana use in patients being considered for heart transplantation. Of the respondents, 84% practice in the United States and Canada. Most providers (80%) care for both pediatric and ACHD patients. Respondents included cardiologists (77%) and surgeons (11%), with the remaining being coordinators and pharmacists. Most providers (73%) reported their institution had no policy regarding marijuana use in heart transplant candidates. Only 20% of respondents' institutions consider mode of consumption, with 87% and 53% approving of oral and transdermal routes, respectively, and only 7% approving of vaporized or smoked routes. While 73% of providers would consider illegal marijuana use an absolute/relative contraindication to heart transplant listing, the number decreases to 57% for legal recreational users and 21% for legal medical users. Most providers personally believe marijuana to be physically and mentally/emotionally harmful to pediatric patients (67% and 72%, respectively). Many institutions lack a policy regarding marijuana use in pediatric and ACHD heart transplant candidates, and there is considerable disagreement among providers on the best practice. With increasing legalization and use of marijuana, each institution will have to address this issue thoughtfully to continue to provide high-quality, consistent, and equitable care for pediatric and ACHD heart transplant candidates.

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