Association of human leukocyte antigen donor-recipient matching and pediatric heart transplant graft survival

Ryan J. Butts, Mark A. Scheurer, Andrew M. Atz, Omar Moussa, Ali L. Burnette, Thomas C. Hulsey, Andrew J. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background-The effect of donor-recipient human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matching on outcomes remains relatively unexplored in pediatric patients. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of donor-recipient HLA matching on graft survival in pediatric heart transplantation. Methods and Results-The UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) database was queried for heart transplants occurring between October 31, 1987, and December 31, 2012, in a recipient aged ≤17 years with ≥1 postoperative follow-up visit. Retransplants were excluded. Transplants were divided into 3 donor-recipient matching groups: no HLA matches (HLAno), 1 or 2 HLA matches (HLA-low), and 3 to 6 HLA matches (HLA-high). Primary outcome was graft loss. Four thousand four hundred seventy-one heart transplants met the study inclusion criteria. High degree of donor-recipient HLA matching occurred infrequently: HLA-high (n=269; 6%) versus HLA-low (n=2683; 60%) versus HLA-no (n=1495; 34%). There were no differences between HLA matching groups in the frequency of coronary vasculopathy (P=0.19) or rejection in the first post-transplant year (P=0.76). Improved graft survival was associated with a greater degree of HLA donor-recipient matching: HLA-high median survival, 17.1 (95% confidence interval, 14.0-20.2) years; HLAlow median survival, 14.2 (13.1-15.4) years; and HLA-no median survival, 12.1 (10.9-13.3 years) years; P<0.01, logrank test. In Cox-regression analysis, HLA matching was independently associated with decreased graft loss: HLA-low versus HLA-no hazard ratio, 0.86 (95% confidence interval, 0.74-0.99), P=0.04; HLA-high versus HLA-no, 0.62 (95% confidence interval, 0.43-0.90), P<0.01. Conclusions-Decreased graft loss in pediatric heart transplantation was associated with a higher degree of donor-recipient HLA matching, although a difference in the frequency of early rejection or development of coronary artery vasculopathy was not seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-611
Number of pages7
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014


  • Heart transplantation
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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