Mechanical circulatory support as a bridge to transplantation

L. D. Joyce, R. W. Emery, F. Eales, T. J. Von Rueden, J. C. Kiser, F. M. Hoffman, K. E. Johnson, C. J. Toninato, T. E. Kersten, D. M. Nicoloff, M. R. Pritzker, C. Muneretto, Shumway, Baumgarnter, D. Cooley

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14 Scopus citations


From December 1985 through April 1988, 11 patients (three female and eight males), 33.1 ± 3.9 (± SEM) years of age (range, 15 to 50 years), underwent heart transplantation preceded by the use of mechanical circulatory support. The causes of cardiac failure were ischemic (four), viral cardiomyopathy (three), idiopathic cardiomyopathy (two), congenital heart disease (one), and valvular heart disease (one). All patients were preterminal. Mechanical circulatory support consisted of intra-aortic balloon pump (eight), the total artificial heart (seven), biventricular assist (three), and left ventricular assist (two). Seven patients had more than one form of support. The duration of mechanical circulatory support was 12.2 ± 4.1 days (range, 1 to 44 days). Once listed for transplantation, patients waited for 8.1 ± 2.4 days for a donor. Seven patients received OKT3 monoclonal antibody as prophylaxis, in addition to triple-drug immunosuppression. There were four rejection episodes and 12 serious infections. In addition, eight patients suffered a major posttransplant complication of a distant organ system: central nervous system (three), renal (two), and respiratory (three). Post transplant hospitalization was 48 ± 22 days (range, 15 to 248 days). Two patients (18%) died after transplant, one of severe acute rejection (29 days) and one of multisystem failure (248 days). All patients surviving transplant hospitalization are alive 6 to 34 months after the transplant procedure. Eight patients are in functional class I and 1 patient class II. This patient attends school full-time but has a premechanical support system neurologic defect. In follow-up of 163 patient-months except for yearly catheterization, these nine patients required only 5 hospital days. Although the use of the mechanical circulatory support as a bridge to transplantation can result in a prolonged, complicated hospitalization after transplant, the long-term results are gratifying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-941
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5 II SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1989


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