Pediatric heart transplantation: Improving results in high-risk patients

Göran Dellgren, Bhagawan Koirala, Andreas Sakopoulus, Aline Botta, Jay Joseph, Lee Benson, Brian McCrindle, Anne Dipchand, Carl Cardella, Kyong Jin Lee, Lori West, Nancy Poirier, Glen S. Van Arsdell, William G. Williams, John G. Coles*, Thomas L. Spray, Carl L. Backer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives: Our institutional experience with 73 pediatric patients undergoing cardiac transplantation between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1999, was reviewed to determine the impact of unconventional donor and recipient management protocols implemented to extend the availability of this therapy. Methods and results: The introduction of donor blood cardioplegic solution with added insulin was associated with a significant improvement in patient and graft survival (hazard ratio [Cox] = 0.25, P = .08), despite significantly longer ischemic times with this protocol compared with the use of crystalloid-based donor procurement techniques (P < .01). Eleven patients underwent intentional transplantation of ABO-incompatible donor hearts with the aid of a protocol of plasma exchange on bypass. In this subgroup, there were 2 early deaths caused by nonspecific graft failure (n = 1) and respiratory complications with mild vascular rejection (n = 1), and there was 1 late death caused by lymphoma. ABO-incompatible transplantation was not a risk factor for death by multivariate analysis. The postoperative course in these patients suggests minimal reactivity directed against incompatible grafts on the basis of low anti-donor blood group antibody production, in association with a favorable rejection profile. Ten of 13 patients requiring preoperative support with an extracorporeal membrane oxygenator survived transplantation; there were 3 additional late deaths in this subgroup (hazard ratio = 2.88, P = .05). Conclusions: The results with pediatric cardiac transplantation continue to improve as a result of changes in both surgical and medical protocols permitting successful treatment of patients conventionally considered at high risk or unsuitable for transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-791
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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