A comprehensive strategy in donor acceptance: Impact on pediatric waitlist and heart transplant outcomes

Nathanya Baez Hernandez, Richard Kirk, Ryan Davies, Maria Bano, David Sutcliffe, Timothy Pirolli, Robert Jaquiss, Susan Daneman, Ryan J. Butts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Significant inter- and intra-center practice variability is present in pediatric donor heart acceptability. This may contribute to variation in the donor refusal rate and may impact waitlist time, morbidity, mortality, and transplant rates. In order to reduce practice variability, our center developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy regarding donor acceptance in September 2017. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of this strategy on waitlist time and outcomes as well as early post-transplant outcomes. We performed a single-center, retrospective analysis of all pediatric (<18 years) patients listed for single-organ heart transplant at our center from September 2015 to September 2018. Patients were divided into those listed before (Group 1) and after implementation of the comprehensive strategy (Group 2). The primary end-point was waitlist time. Secondary end-points included waitlist removal due to death or clinical deterioration, donor refusals per listed patient, early post-transplant outcomes (graft failure, mechanical ventilation time, inotropic support, length of hospital stay) and 1-year post-transplant survival. Of 78 listed patients, 54 were transplanted (29 in Group 1), 9 were removed due to death or clinical deterioration (7 in Group 1) and 15 were removed due to clinical improvement (12 in Group 1). The waitlist time was significantly shorter in Group 2 (17 days, IQR 7-53) vs Group 1 (90 days, IQR 14-162); P =.006. The number of donor refusals was lower in Group 2 (1, IQR 0-2.2) vs Group 1 (4, IQR 2-19); P <.001. The percentage of refused donors with normal function (Left ventricular ejection fraction > 50%) was lower in Group 2 vs Group 1 (53% vs 84%; P <.001). Difference in removal from the waitlist for death or deterioration in Group 2 vs Group 1 (n = 2, 7% vs n = 7, 20%, P =.18) did not reach statistical significance. There was no difference in post-transplant outcomes between groups. The waitlist time and donor refusals significantly decreased after implementation of a comprehensive donor acceptance strategy without impacting transplant outcomes. This analysis supports the need for a comprehensive approach to donor organ acceptance within a pediatric transplant center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13764
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • donor refusal
  • pediatric heart transplant
  • waitlist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation


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