Cardiac retransplantation in childhood: Analysis of data from the United Network for Organ Sharing

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Objective: For children in whom graft failure develops after cardiac transplantation, retransplantation is often considered. Although some centers have reported equivalent results for retransplantation as for primary transplantation, this strategy remains controversial. We sought to examine outcomes after retransplantation in children and to identify risk factors for mortality. Methods: United Network for Organ Sharing records of heart transplantation for subjects younger than 18 years from 1987 to 2004 were reviewed. Indications for retransplantation and patient characteristics were evaluated. Analysis was performed with proportional hazards regression, controlling for other potential risk factors. Results: Among the 4227 pediatric heart transplants, there were 219 retransplants. The most common indication for retransplantation was coronary allograft vasculopathy (51%). The mean interval from initial heart transplant to retransplantation was 4.7 ± 3.8 years. Forty-two retransplants (19%) were performed within 180 days of primary transplantation. Survivals at 1, 5, and 10 years after retransplantation were 79%, 53%, and 44%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, retransplantation was associated with significantly higher mortality than primary transplantation (odds ratio 1.67, 95% confidence interval 1.32-2.12, P < .001). Patients who underwent retransplantation within 180 days of primary transplantation had a significantly lower 1-year survival than did other retransplant recipients (53% vs 86%, respectively, P < .02). Subjects who required mechanical ventilation before retransplantation also had poorer survival (P < .03). Conclusion: Survival after cardiac retransplantation in children is inferior to that after primary transplantation. Although results are acceptable, the impact of retransplantation on the availability of donor hearts requires further consideration. Copyright © 2005 by The American Association for Thoracic Surgery.




Mahle, W. T., Vincent, R. N., & Kanter, K. R. (2005). Cardiac retransplantation in childhood: Analysis of data from the United Network for Organ Sharing. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 130(2), 542–546.

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