Optimal timing of pediatric heart transplantation

L. J. Addonizio, D. T. Hsu, L. Fuzesi, C. R. Smith, E. A. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Despite success in adults, heart transplantation (HT) is still considered by many as only desperation therapy for children with end-stage heart disease. Thus, of 30 pediatric patients undergoing HT at our center, only seven (23%) patients had not developed pulmonary hypertension with increased pulmonary vascular resistance (PH) or hemodynamic decompensation (HD) requiring inotropic support at the time of transplantation. We have retrospectively reviewed the effect of preoperative PH, HD, and seven other potential risk factors on survival of our pediatric heart transplant recipients. All 30 patients, aged 5 days to 18 years, had New York Heart Association class III or IV symptoms. Twenty had idiopathic cardiomyopathy, nine had congenital lesions, and one infant had a large left ventricular tumor. A univariate and multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis was performed examining the effects of nine variables on survival after transplantation: PH, HD, age, need for hospitalization, congenital heart disease, need for surgical pulmonary artery reconstruction, prior stroke, history of cardiac arrest(s), and mechanical ventilator dependence. One-year actuarial survival for the entire series was 66% and was 100% for the seven patients with neither PH nor HD. None of the nine potential risk factors was a statistically significant predictor of risk, yet the combined presence of PH and HD represented a highly significant predictor of mortality (relative risk, 4.08:1; p < 0.002). One-year actuarial survival of the 10 patients with this combination was 30% versus 84% of those without the combination. HT is an effective therapy for children with end-stage heart disease. Whenever feasible, HT should be undertaken before the development of HD or PH. Patients with PH and HD should only receive a transplant if the donor cannot be used for a more suitable candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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