Reversal of severe late left ventricular failure after pediatric heart transplantation and possible role of plasmapheresis

Elfriede Pahl*, Susan E. Crawford, Richard A. Cohn, Sherrie Rodgers, David Wax, Carl L. Backer, Constantine Mavroudis, Samuel S. Gidding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Late acute cardiac graft failure carries a high mortality in adults. Vascular mediators and factors other than classic T-cell-mediated rejection may play a role in this process, and aggressive multimodality therapy may improve survival. We report experience with plasmapheresis in treating late severe acute left ventricular dysfunction in a group of pediatric heart transplant recipients. We retrospectively reviewed clinical records, echocardiograms, hemodynamics, coronary angiograms, biopsy specimens, and treatment regimens for 5 patients with 7 episodes of late-onset severe graft failure who recovered. Plasmapheresis was applied in all cases, in addition to methylprednisolone, cyclophosphamide, lympholytic agents, and aggressive supportive care including mechanical ventilation and hemofiltration. All patients presented with acute severe left ventricular dysfunction 1.4 to 7.9 years (mean 3.6) after orthotopic heart transplantation. Mean shortening fraction at presentation was 13 to 23% (mean 16), initial endomyocardial biopsy specimens were grade 0 to 3B, and immunofluorescence studies were negative. Treatment included plasmapheresis, cyclophosphamide, mechanical ventilation, hemofiltration, and inotropes. Clinical recovery was slow, with 4 to 8 weeks until left ventricular function normalized, and 2.2 to 9.4 (mean 4.6) weeks to hospital discharge. At follow-up (50 to 38 months, mean 24), all are alive. Two patients are well, whereas coronary vasculopathy developed in 3. Thus, survival may improve in patients with late graft failure with low biopsy score and plasmapheresis combined with multimodality therapy. Copyright (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-739
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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