The proliferation of transplant programs has not been paralleled by a similar increase in the availability of organ donors. This has significantly prolonged the waiting period and consequently has resulted in increased mortality of the patients with end-stage heart disease who are awaiting transplantation. Between 1984 and 1987, 104 orthotopic heart transplants were performed at Loyola University Medical Center. During the same period, 25 patients died while waiting for a suitable donor. To reduce the mortality of our patients waiting for transplantation, we began using the total artificial heart and a ventricular assist device as a bridge to transplantation in 1988. Of 29 patients who underwent transplant procedures in 1988, 18 required either a total artificial heart (15) or a ventricular assist device (3) as a bridge to transplantation. The underlying heart condition were ischemic cardiomyopathy (11), dilated cardiomyopathy (5), giant cell myocarditis (1), and allograft failure (1). The average duration of mechanical support was 10 days (range, 1 to 35 days). Seventeen of the supported patients had successful transplants. One patient had brain death and did not receive a heart transplant. Of the 17 patients who survived surgery, two died within 30 days: one at 17 days because of acute rejection, the other at 14 days because of a cerebral vascular event. Fifteen patients (83%) were long-term survivors. Nine of the supported patients required reoperation because of bleeding after device implantation. There was no mediastinal or incisional infection. While the mechanical device was in place, the activated clotting time was maintained between 170 and 200 seconds with the administration of heparin (400 to 1000 units per hour). Dipyridamole (400 mg daily) was given. We conclude that the total artificial heart and ventricular assist device are excellent mechanical bridges to transplantation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Heart Transplantation|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1990|
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