Heart Transplantation in Women With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

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Background.Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is responsible for over half of all heart transplants. Fewer women with DCM undergo heart transplants than men with DCM; the reasons for this state of affairs are unclear.Methods and Results.We analyzed prospectively a cohort of 698 DCM patients who were referred to our heart transplant center. Only 15.5% of them were women. Women and men did not differ in age or ejection fraction (24%). Women were more frequently in New York Heart Association class III-IV, had lower exercise tolerance, worse pulmonary function, and poorer kidney function (all P<0.05) than men. Women were less commonly diabetic (14% vs. 23%; P<0.05). Similar percentages of women and men who were referred were transplanted; the women spent less time on the waiting list (153±37 days for women and 314±29 days for men; P<0.05). The 10-year survival rate of women and men after transplantation was similar (57% and 45%, respectively; P<0.203). We compared our current data to our overall experience from 1985 till date (n=972), and also with the Eurotransplant heart dataset. Similar to our current findings, far lower percentages of DCM patients in both cohorts were women, although the 10-year survival of female and male DCM patients after transplantation was not different.Conclusions.Because women were referred with more severe heart failure but fewer relative contraindications, it seems that the option of transplantation is less intensely considered for women, particularly for those with comorbidities, by the referring physicians. Because women with DCM do as well as men after transplantation, efforts should be undertaken to improve referral of women.

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