Purpose: To describe a heart transplant recipient who developed asystole after administration of neostigmine which suggests that surgical dennervation of the heart may not permanently prevent significant responses to anticholinesterases.
Clinical features: A 67-yr-old man, 11 yr post heart transplant underwent left upper lung lobectomy. He developed asystole after intravenous administration of 4 mg neostigmine with 0.8 mg glycopyrrolate for reversal of the muscle relaxant. He had no history of rate or rhythm abnormalities either prior to or subsequent to the event.
Conclusion: When administering anticholinesterase medications to heart transplant patients, despite surgical dennervation, one must be prepared for a possible profound cardiac response.