Cardiac transplantation under new legislation for organ transplantation in Japan: report of two cases

Jpn Circ J. 2000 May;64(5):333-9. doi: 10.1253/jcj.64.333.


During the past 2 years since new legislation for organ transplantation from brain-dead donors came into effect in Japan, 3 cardiac transplants have been carried out, 2 of which were performed at the National Cardiovascular Center (NCVC). The recipient cases were 46- and 25-year-old male patients who suffered from end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy and had been listed for cardiac transplantation in the Japan Organ Transplantation Network as status I candidates. The first patient was supported by the use of a paracorporeal air-driven left ventricular assist device of the NCVC type, and had a moderate degree of renal and hepatic dysfunction at the time of transplantation. Donor hearts were transported from distant hospitals (Tokyo and Miyagi prefecture) and the transportation time was 1 h 33 min and 2h 4 min, respectively. The operation was performed by the standard technique (Lower-Shumway) in the first patient and by the bicaval anastomosis technique in the second patient. Reperfusion of the transplanted heart was performed retrogradely through the coronary sinus utilizing leukocyte-depleted blood with a gradual increase in temperature. Total ischemic time was 3 h 34 min and 3 h 35 min, respectively. Weaning from the cardiopulmonary bypass was easy and uneventful in each patient. Immunosuppressive therapy was conducted with OKT-3 induction in the first patient because of the coexisting renal dysfunction and with a triple immunosuppressive regimen for both patients. Routine endomyocardial biopsy showed acute rejection of less than grade Ib, and the patients were discharged on the 65th and 46th postoperative day, respectively. At present, both patients are in the NYHA class I state and are ready to return to work. The uneventful recovery seen in these patients shows the advances made in transplant medicine, including the progress and improvement of immunosuppressive therapy, surgical techniques, myocardial protection, and detection and treatment of infection. Further efforts are required to fully establish the cardiac transplantation program in Japan.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / complications
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / surgery
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Heart Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Heart Transplantation / methods*
  • Heart Transplantation / standards
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure
  • Organ Transplantation / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Organ Transplantation / methods
  • Renal Insufficiency / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency / drug therapy


  • Immunosuppressive Agents