ABSTRACT: Objectives:A decade ago, the first series of ABO-incompatible heart transplants was published, with surprising and extremely promising results; drastically reduced waiting list mortalities of infants listed for heart transplantation. Essential to the procedure was the process of plasma exchange transfusion, required to reduce isohaemagglutinin titres and facilitate the crossing of ABO blood group boundaries. Since then, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London has offered ABO-incompatible heart transplants to infants who potentially would die waiting for a suitable organ. We report the results of a decade of evolving plasma exchange experience and its impact upon patient selection. METHODS: A retrospective analysis was undertaken of all elective ABO-incompatible heart transplants at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital from January 2001 until January 2011. Data were sought on underlying conditions and demographics of the patients, the isohaemagglutinin titre before and after plasma exchange and survival figures to date. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients underwent ABO-incompatible heart transplantation, ranging from 3 to 44 months, with preoperative isohaemagglutinin titres ranging from 0 to 1:32. All patients underwent a "3 times" plasma exchange before transplantation, requiring exchange volumes of up to 3209 mL. Postoperative isohaemagglutinin titres ranged from 0 to 1:16. One patient died of causes unrelated to organ rejection. CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed that eight patients (38.1%) were older than the previously suggested 12-month cut-off age. Using a combination of adult reservoir/paediatric oxygenator and extracorporeal circuit, ABO-incompatible plasma exchange transfusions can be undertaken safely using a simplified '3 times' method, reducing the circulating levels of isohaemagglutinins whilst providing minimal circuit size. This allows ABO-incompatible heart transplantation in a broader patient population than previously reported.
Perfusion 07/2012; · 0.92 Impact Factor