Heart Transplantation for Pediatric and Congenital Cardiac Disease: A Comparison of Two Eras over 23 Years and 188 Transplants at a Single Institution

Genevieve C. Tuite, James A. Quintessenza, Alfred Asante-Korang, Sharon R. Ghazarian, Bethany L. Wisotzkey, Shawn Shah, Gary E. Stapleton, Jamie A. Decker, Carrie E. Herbert, Vyas Kartha, Plato Alexander, Jennifer Carapellucci, Diane Krasnopero, Jade Hanson, Neil A. Goldenberg, Nhue L. Do, Constantine Mavroudis, Tom R. Karl, Robert J. Boucek, Shelby KuttyLuca A. Vricella, Hugh M. van Gelder, Jeffrey P. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: To assess changes in patterns of practice and outcomes over time, we reviewed all patients who underwent heart transplantation (HTx) at our institution and compared two consecutive eras with significantly different immunosuppressive protocols (cohort 1 [80 HTx, June 1995-June 2006]; cohort 2 [108 HTx, July 2006-September 2018]). Methods: Retrospective study of 180 patients undergoing 188 HTx (June 1995-September 2018; 176 first time HTx, 10 second HTx, and 2 third HTx). In 2006, we commenced pre-HTx desensitization for highly sensitized patients and started using tacrolimus as our primary postoperative immunosuppressive agent. The primary outcome was mortality. Survival was modeled by the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were created to identify prognostic factors for survival. Results: Our 188 HTx included 18 neonates, 85 infants, 83 children, and 2 adults (>18 years). Median age was 260.0 days (range: 5 days-23.8 years). Median weight was 7.5 kg (range: 2.2-113 kg). Patients in cohort 1 were less likely to have been immunosensitized preoperatively (12.5% vs 28.7%, P =.017). Nevertheless, Kaplan-Meier analysis suggested superior survival in cohort 2 (P =.0045). Patients in cohort 2 were more likely to be alive one year, five years, and ten years after HTx. Multivariable analysis identified the earlier era (hazard ratio [HR] [95% confidence interval] for recent era = 0.32 [0.14-0.73]), transplantation after prior Norwood operation (HR = 4.44 [1.46-13.46]), and number of prior cardiac operations (HR = 1.33 [1.03-1.71]) as risk factors for mortality. Conclusions: Our analysis of 23 years of pediatric and congenital HTx reveals superior survival in the most recent 12-year era, despite the higher proportion of patients with elevated panel reactive antibody in the most recent era. This improvement was temporally associated with changes in our immunosuppressive strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • congenital heart disease (CHD)
  • congenital heart surgery
  • Fontan
  • heart
  • hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • immunology
  • Norwood procedure
  • pediatric
  • rejection (immunologic)
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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