Low donor-to-recipient weight ratio does not negatively impact survival of pediatric heart transplant patients
A major limitation to success in pediatric heart transplantation is donor organ shortage. While the use of allografts from donors larger than the recipient is accepted, the use of undersized donor grafts is generally discouraged. Using the UNOS database, we wanted to evaluate whether using smaller donor hearts affects the short- and long-term survival of pediatric heart transplant patients. A retrospective analysis of data entered into the UNOS database from April 1994 to May 2008 was performed. Pediatric heart transplant recipients (ages 0-18 yr) with DRWR <2.0 were identified and divided into two groups: Low-DRWR (<0.8) and Ideal-DRWR (0.8-2.0). Patients' demographics, pretransplant diagnoses, age at transplantation, severity of pretransplant condition, and rate of complications prior to hospital discharge after transplantation were noted. Fisher's exact, chi-square, and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used to compare patients' baseline characteristics. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to compare patients' survival and to identify independent risk factors for outcomes. There were 3048 patients (204 with Low- and 2844 with Ideal-DRWR). The Low-ratio group patients were older (8.3 vs. 6.9 yr; p = 0.001), there was a slight male predominance in the Low-DRWR group (p = 0.055). The Low-DRWR group had longer transplant wait time than the Ideal-DRWR group (97 vs. 85 days; p = 0.04). The groups did not differ in race, primary diagnoses, severity of pretransplant condition (medical urgency status, need for ventilation, inotropic support, ECMO, nitric oxide, or dialysis, the PVR for those with bi-ventricular anatomy), or post-transplant complications (length of stay, need for inotropic support, dialysis, and rate of infections). The Low-DRWR patients had less episodes of acute rejection during the first-post-transplant month. Infants with DRWR 0.5-0.59 had lower 30-day survival rate (p = 0.045). There was no difference in short- and long-term survival between the patients with DRWR 0.6-0.79 and DRWR 0.8-2.0. Use of smaller allografts (DRWR 0.6-0.8) has no negative impact on the short- and long-term survival of pediatric heart transplant patients.
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