There is always more demand than supply of organs in pediatric heart transplantation. Yet, potential donor organs are regularly declined for a variety of reasons, among them donor organ quality as determined by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) refusal code 830 or its equivalent.Methods
For the study group institutional and UNOS databases (July 2000 to December 2008) were reviewed to examine outcomes of pediatric heart transplantation using donor hearts that had been previously refused one or more times because of organ quality. Variation between outcomes of this cohort and recipients who received primarily offered heart grafts in a single institution was analyzed.Results
In 29 recipients, transplantation or retransplantation was with heart grafts previously declined on the basis of quality. Recovery distances (p< 0.002) and graft cold ischemic times (p< 0.001) were significantly longer for declined hearts. Operative survival was 93% ± 5.0% (27 of 29). Seven-year actuarial survival was 74% ± 10.5%. At the present time, 24 of the 29 recipients (83%) are alive. These results do not vary statistically from those experienced by 84 recipients of 86 primarily offered donor organs during the same time.Conclusions
Despite longer distance recovery (ie, longer graft cold ischemic times), outcomes of pediatric heart transplantation using donor heart grafts refused on the basis of organ quality are highly competitive. Pediatric donor hearts should seldom be declined on the basis of organ quality (UNOS code 830).