Changing Donor and Recipient Demographics in A Heart Transplantation Program: Influence on Early Outcome

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The purpose of this study was to investigate whether broadening acceptance criteria for donor hearts and changing recipient demographics resulted in an increased perioperative morbidity and mortality in a heart transplant program.


Donor and recipient data of 137 consecutive heart transplants performed from 1987 to 2001 were retrospectively analyzed and divided into three equal eras, each of 5 years: 1987 to 1991, 1992 to 1996, and 1997 to 2001. Multivariate analyses of recipient and donor demographics and operative factors were performed to identify the predictors of low cardiac output, intraaortic balloon pump utilization, 30-day mortality, and duration of intensive care and hospital stay.


Significant increases in number of female recipients (p = 0.025), cardiopulmonary bypass (p < 0.001), recipient cross-clamp (p < 0.001), donor age (p = 0.009), donor ischemic times (p < 0.001), use of cardioplegia (p < 0.001) and the bicaval technique (p < 0.001), brain death to retrieval time (p = 0.006), and need for postoperative dialysis were observed for the three study periods, whereas length of intensive care and hospital stay decreased. Female donor (odds ratio [OR], 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 5.7) was identified as a risk factor for low cardiac output. Female donor (OR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.3 to 10.7), donor cardiac arrest (OR, 6.4; 95% CI, 1.6 to 25.9), and cardiopulmonary bypass time more than 2 hours (OR, 7.6; 95% CI, 2.1 to 28.1) were associated with increased intraaortic balloon pump utilization. Intensive care stay was prolonged by the biatrial technique (OR, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.3 to 11.9) and reduced by the use of cardioplegia (OR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1 to 0.9), longer cardiopulmonary bypass (OR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.1 to 0.6) and aortic cross-clamp times (OR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.6).


Although a number of significant changes were observed during the study period, no donor, recipient, or operative factors influenced 30-day mortality. This study justifies our current donor and recipient selection policies.

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