Improved detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy: A multi-institutional analysis of functional parameters in pediatric heart transplant recipients

Steven J. Kindel*, Yuk M. Law, Clifford Chin, Michael Burch, James K. Kirklin, David C. Naftel, Elizabeth Pruitt, Michael P. Carboni, Anna Arens, Andrew M. Atz, William J. Dreyer, William T. Mahle, Elfriede Pahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background Recent guidelines recommend assessment of systolic function and filling pressures to augment angiographic grading of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV); however, no data exist on the utility of these guidelines. Objectives The aims of this study were to evaluate whether the assessment of systolic and diastolic graft function, in addition to angiography, improves recognition of patients at high risk of graft loss and to assess the ability of adult filling-pressure thresholds to discriminate graft dysfunction in pediatric patients. Methods This study reviewed Pediatric Heart Transplant Study data from 1993 to 2009. Graft dysfunction was defined as significant systolic dysfunction (ejection fraction [EF] <45%) or the presence of restrictive hemodynamic features. Additional pediatric hemodynamic cutpoints of right atrial pressure (RAP) >12 mm Hg or pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) >15 mm Hg were analyzed. Results In the study, 8,122 angiograms were performed in 3,120 patients, and 70% of patients had at least 1 angiogram. Angiographic incidence of CAV was 5%, 15%, and 28% at 2, 5, and 10 years, respectively, and most disease was mild. The presence of graft dysfunction identified patients at greater risk for graft loss even in children with mild angiographic vasculopathy (p < 0.0001). An RAP >12 mm Hg or a PCWP >15 mm Hg was sufficient to detect patients at high risk of graft loss even with mild angiographic disease. Conclusions Patients with only mild angiographic CAV have significantly better outcomes than do patients with moderate or severe disease. The presence of an EF <45%, an RAP >12 mm Hg, or a PCWP >15 mm Hg identifies children at increased risk of graft loss even in the presence of only mild angiographic vasculopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-557
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 4 2015


  • chronic rejection
  • coronary artery
  • graft loss
  • heart transplant
  • hemodynamics
  • vasculopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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