Contemporary outcomes of outpatients referred for cardiac transplantation evaluation to a tertiary heart failure center: Impact of surgical alternatives

Niall G. Mahon, James O. O'Neill, James B. Young, Renee Bennett, Katherine Hoercher, Michael K. Banbury, Jose L. Navia, Nicholas G. Smedira, Patrick M. McCarthy, Randall C. Starling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background The growing epidemic of congestive heart failure in the setting of limited donor-organ availability has mandated continued development and increased utilization of medical and surgical alternatives to cardiac transplantation. We sought to assess current disposition and outcomes of patients recently referred for transplant evaluation to a single high-throughput tertiary referral center. Methods and results We performed a retrospective observational review of consecutive patients with advanced heart failure who were assessed initially in an outpatient setting by a heart failure cardiologist, with a view to transplant or nontransplant surgical alternatives between 1995 and 2000. Of 1174 consecutive referrals (mean age 55.1 [±12.7], 74% male), 588 (50%) were recommended for medical treatment (mean age 55.3 [±12.4], 72% male) and 200 (17%) for nontransplant surgery, principally coronary artery bypass grafting, mitral valve repair, infarct exclusion, partial left ventriculectomy, or combinations thereof (mean age 57.8 [±10.6], 76% male). A minority, 418 (36%), were initially listed for cardiac transplantation (mean age 53.5 [±13.9], 80% male). Of these, 74 (18% of listed) died waiting (34 on left ventricular assist device support), 45 were delisted (27 for improved clinical status), and 217 (18% of referred group) have been transplanted. The 3-year survival (Kaplan-Meier) was equivalent (82%) in the transplanted and nontransplant surgery groups (excluding partial left ventriculectomy patients). Conclusion In current clinical practice less than one fifth of transplant referrals are ultimately transplanted, reflecting both a limited donor supply and the application of alternative, nontransplant strategies. Medium-term survival in patients suitable for alternative surgical strategies equals that of cardiac transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Cardiac
  • Heart failure
  • Left ventricular reconstruction
  • Nontransplant surgery
  • Outcome
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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