Ten year survival after paediatric heart transplantation: a single centre experience

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2005 May;27(5):790-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2004.12.058.


Objective: To report 10 years survival in children under the age of 16 years undergoing heart transplantation in a single institution.

Methods: One hundred and thirty nine/one hundred and ninety three patients (73%) survived more than 1 year after transplant. Seventy four (53%) of these survived more than 10 (10.0-20.1) years. Age at operation was 10 days-15.5 (mean 8.1) years. Patients were maintained on ciclosporin and azathiaprine alone. Routine steroids only given to 4 patients for either persistent rejection or deteriorating renal function. Rejection diagnosed on clinical or echocardiographic grounds. No routine biopsies were performed. Bi-annual coronary angiography was used to diagnose graft coronary disease.

Results: Graft coronary disease was found in 8 patients (11%), 2 were re-transplanted and have survived 4.3-7.2 years since. Two patients are alive without intervention 2.0-13.0 years from initial diagnosis. Two patients have undergone interventional procedures 11 and 16 years after transplantation and are alive 3 and 4 years, respectively, later. Seven patients have had post transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) and 6 have had no recurrence for 3-13 years after treatment. Impaired renal function with abnormal serum creatinine levels is increasingly common-11 patients have developed end stage renal failure, 7 requiring renal transplantation, hypertension occurred in only 3 patients other than those in renal failure. Late rejection episodes associated with probable non-adherence occurred in 7 patients. There were 10 late deaths; 2 from graft coronary disease; 1 from PTLD; 3 from renal failure; 3 from acute rejection and 1 from infection. Conditional actuarial survival from 1 year post transplant was 76 and 67% at 10 and 15 years, respectively.

Conclusions: Survival for more than 10 years is increasingly realistic. In this age group adherence and deteriorating renal function are major challenges.

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Cardiomyopathies / immunology
  • Cardiomyopathies / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Heart Transplantation / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / immunology
  • Survival Rate
  • Ultrasonography


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine