Outcomes After Transplantation of Donor Hearts With Improving Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction

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24 Scopus citations


Background Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) accounts for almost 25% of nonacceptance of potential donor hearts. Previous smaller, single-center studies showed that LVSD following brain death may be transient, and such hearts can be successfully resuscitated with resolution of LVSD, then transplanted. Objectives This study evaluated outcomes of donor hearts with LVSD on initial transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) that resolved during donor management. Methods We reviewed echocardiograms of all cardiac donors in the United Network of Organ Sharing database that were transplanted from January 1, 2007, to September 30, 2015, and identified 472 donor hearts with LVSD (left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] ≤40%) on initial TTE that resolved (LVEF ≥50%) during donor management on a subsequent TTE. These patients comprised the improved donor LVEF group. These were compared with donor hearts with normal LVEF (LVEF ≥55%) on the initial TTE for recipient mortality, cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV), and primary graft failure (PGF). Results There was no significant difference in recipient mortality at 30 days, 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years of follow-up, nor any difference in rates of PGF at 90 days and CAV at 5 years between recipients of donor hearts with improved LVEF and recipients of donor hearts with initially normal LVEF. Post-transplant length of stay was also similar between the 2 groups. Using propensity scores, 461 transplants in the improved-donor LVEF group were matched to 461 transplants in the normal-donor LVEF group. There was no significant difference in PGF at 90 days or recipient mortality after up to 5 years of follow-up. Conclusions In the largest analysis of donor hearts with transient LVSD, we found that such hearts can be successfully resuscitated and transplanted without increasing recipient mortality, CAV, or PGF. These results underscore the importance of appropriate donor management and should help to increase utilization of donor hearts with transient LVSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1248-1258
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 5 2017



  • cardiac allograft vasculopathy
  • echocardiogram
  • ejection fraction
  • length of stay
  • primary graft failure
  • transient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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