Fatal cardiac arrest in pediatric heart transplant recipients: Query of the UNOS database

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The incidence of death by CA after PHTx is unknown. We aimed to determine the incidence and factors for fatal CA after PHTx, and whether a PM affects survival. Retrospective cohort study utilizing the United Network of Organ Sharing registry of patients transplanted ≤18 years. Multivariable analyses in hazard-function domain and Kaplan-Meier analyses were performed for an outcome of death due to CA. There were 7719 PHTx patients queried. CA was the reported cause of death in 11%. Age ≥13 years at time of transplant, presence of a PM, and depressed EF were identified as significant factors for fatal CA. Death due to CA beyond 10 years post-transplant was associated with depressed EF, CAV, and presence of a PM. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated higher likelihood of fatal CA in patients with CAV and in those with a PM vs those without. In total, 15% of patients with a PM died from CA. CA is a relatively common cause of death after PHTx. The benefit of a PM remains unclear, but its presence does not confer complete protection. Patients with associated factors warrant vigilant surveillance and consideration for retransplantation.

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