Orthotopic heart transplantation with donors greater than or equal to 60 years of age: a single-center experience

Bruschi, Giuseppe; Colombo, Tiziano; Oliva, Fabrizio; Morici, Nuccia; Botta, Luca; Cannata, Aldo; Frigerio, Maria; Martinelli, Luigi
July 2011
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Jul2011, Vol. 40 Issue 1, pe55
Academic Journal
Abstract: Objectives: Heart transplantation is the best therapeutic option for patients suffering from end-stage heart failure, but donor organ availability still represents a major problem. This had led to a shift toward extended donor criteria. The aim of the present study is to analyze the short- and long-term results of heart transplantation in patients with donor age ≥60 years. Methods: Since November 1985, 890 patients have been transplanted at our center. We consider, for the present study, only primary adult heart transplantations performed after 1990, totaling 761 patients, mean age at transplantation 49.8 years, and 616 patients being male (81%). We compare the short- and long-term results of patients transplanted with donors younger than 60 years or ≥60 years. Results: Since 1990, at our center, 711 patients have been heart transplanted with a donor younger than 60 years, while 50 patients received a heart from a donor older than 60 years. No differences have been reported in the etiology of cardiomyopathy, previous surgery, or mean ischemic time. Patients transplanted with donors ≥60 years of age were significantly older compared to the younger donors’ group. Donor cause of death was a cerebrovascular accident in 82% of donors ≥60 years versus 41% in younger donors. Patients’ heart transplanted with donors ≥60 years had a higher incidence of acute graft failure with a hospital mortality of 32% (16 patients) significantly higher compared with 10.2% for the other group. No differences were noticed in the incidence of renal failure, acute rejection treated, coronary allograft vasculopathy, and neoplasm during long-term follow-up. Conclusions: It was possible to expand the cardiac donor pool by accepting allografts from donors ≥60 years of age in selected cases by performing a coronary angiogram. A meticulous donor evaluation and a careful risk assessment between the risk of death on the waiting list and probable increased hospital mortality are needed.


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