Cardiac transplantation from infected donors: Is it safe?

Stephen J. Forest, Patricia Friedmann, Ricardo Bello, Daniel J. Goldstein, Victoria Muggia, David A. D'Alessandro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background Transplantation of a cardiac allograft from an infected donor risks transmission of disease to the immunocompromised recipient. Such organs are often not utilized despite little supporting evidence. We sought to evaluate outcomes following cardiac transplant with the use of an infected allograft. Methods The UNOS/OPTN database was used to identify first time, adult heart transplant recipients from 1995 to 2009. Patients receiving allografts from blood culture positive donor (CPD) were compared to those who did not (NCPD). Results A total of 26,813 recipients were included. Nine hundred ninety-five (3.7%) received a heart from a CPD. Recipients of hearts from CPDs were more likely to be diabetic (24% vs. 20%, p-=-0.01), hypertensive (42% vs. 38%, p-=-0.02), status 1 (80% vs. 76%, p-=-0.0021), have a BMI->-30 (19% vs. 16%, p-=-0.001), on intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) support (7% vs. 5%, p-=-0.017), and worse functional status. Recipients with a CPD were more likely to be treated for a post-transplant infection (28% vs. 23%, p-=-0.003) but not for an episode of rejection in the first year after transplantation (39% vs. 40%, p-=-0.73). Receipt of a CPD allograft was not a multivariate predictor for mortality. CPD and NCPD survival was similar at one year (86% vs. 87%, p-=-0.2585) and 15 years (34% vs. 36%, p-=-0.0929). Conclusion Use of allografts from CPD has no influence on survival despite the fact that these recipients tend to have a higher acuity and more comorbidities at the time of transplantation. Utilization of a heart from a donor with a confirmed blood stream infection should be carefully considered. doi: 10.1111/jocs.12509

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-295
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiac Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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