Allosensitization does not alter post-transplant outcomes in pediatric patients bridged to transplant with a ventricular assist device

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Patients supported with a VAD are at increased risk for sensitization. We aimed to determine risk factors for sensitization as well as the impact of sensitization on post-transplant outcomes. The UNOS database (January 2004–June 2014) was used to identify patients (≤18 yrs) supported with a durable VAD. Rates and degree of sensitization in the VAD cohort were calculated. Post-transplant survival was determined comparing outcomes of sensitized vs. non-sensitized patients. There were 3097 patients included in the study; 19% (n = 579) were bridged with a VAD. Of these, 41.8% were sensitized vs. 29.9% of the patients who were not bridged with a VAD (p < 0.001). VAD was an independent predictor of sensitization (OR 2.05 [1.63–2.57]; p < 0.001). There was no difference in sensitization based on device type (continuous vs. pulsatile flow, p = 0.990). Post-transplant survival rates between the sensitized and non-sensitized VAD patients were not different, including patients with a PRA >50% and VAD patients with a positive DSC (p = 0.280 and 0.160, respectively). In conclusion, pediatric VAD patients are more likely to be sensitized, but there was no difference in sensitization based on device type. In addition, sensitization does not appear to impact outcomes.

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