Combined heart-liver transplantation practices survey in North America: Evaluation and organ listing practices

Alexandra Shingina, Ryan Chadha, Nicholas Lim, Anjana Pillai, Irene Vodkin, Martin Montenovo, Theo Heller, David Yardeni, Daniel Ganger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We conducted a web-based survey to characterize liver transplant (LT) evaluation and listing practices for patients being evaluated for combined heart-liver transplantation (CHLT), with a specific emphasis on patients with congenital heart disease (CHD), around transplant centers in North America. Very few protocols for liver evaluation and listing in patients undergoing combined heart-liver transplantation are published, and no guidelines currently exist on this topic. A subject of intense debate in the transplant community is the decision of which patients with CHD and liver disease benefit from CHLT compared with heart transplantation. A focus group from the American Society of Transplantation Liver-Intestine Community of Practice Education Subcommittee developed a web-based survey that included questions (1) respondee demographic information; (2) LT evaluation practices in CHLT; (3) liver organ listing practices in CHLT, and (4) 4 clinical vignettes with case-based scenarios in CHLT liver listings among CHD patients who underwent Fontan palliation. The survey was distributed to medical and surgical LT program directors of 47 centers that had completed at least 1 CHLT up to July 2021 in the US and the University of Toronto, Canada. The survey had an excellent 83% response rate (87% for centers that completed at least 1 CHLT in the past 5 y). Total 66.7% used transjugular liver biopsy with HVPG measurements, 30% used percutaneous liver biopsy with no consensus on the use of a fibrosis staging system, 95% mandated contrasted cross-sectional imaging, and 65% upper endoscopy. The following isolated findings evaluation mandated CHLT listing: isolated elevated HVPG (61.5%); the presence of portosystemic collaterals on imaging (67.5%); the endoscopic presence of esophageal or gastric varices (75%), and the presence of HCC (80%), whereas the majority of centers did not feel that the presence of isolated splenomegaly (100%), thrombocytopenia (81.6%), endoscopic findings of portal hypertensive gastropathy (66.7%), or highly sensitized patients (84.6%) justified CHLT. In our survey of North American centers that had performed at least 1 CHLT in the past 5 years, we observed heterogeneity in practices for both evaluation and listing protocols in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-597
Number of pages7
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by NCATS/NIH (UL1 TR000445).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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