Background: Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) commonly undergo cardiac transplantation as primary management.
Methods: We examined outcomes of primary transplantation for unpalliated HLHS. We analyzed data from the 20 institutions of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study Group, from January 1, 1993, through December 31, 1998, using actuarial and parametric survival analysis and competing outcomes analysis.
Results: During the 6 years studied, 1,234 patients were listed for cardiac transplantation; 262 patients (21.2%) had unpalliated HLHS. The number (and percentage) of patients with HLHS decreased from 58 (27% of patients listed) in 1993 to 30 (14%) in 1998. Overall, 25% of infants with HLHS died while waiting; primary cause of death was cardiac failure (50%). Of the remaining patients awaiting transplantation, 23 (9%) underwent Norwood/Fontan-type surgeries as interim palliation: 52% died. Ultimately, 175 patients underwent cardiac transplantation (67%); 50% received organs by 2 months after listing. Post-transplant actuarial survival was 72% at 5 years, with 76% of deaths (35/46) occurring within 3 months; early mortality was caused primarily by graft failure within the first 30 days after transplantation (in 54%). Among 1-month survivors, survival at 1 and at 5 years was 92% and 85%, respectively. Of the 262 patients listed with unpalliated HLHS, overall survival, taking into account mortality after listing and after transplantation, was 68% at 3 months and 54% at 5 years.
Conclusions: Cardiac transplantation offers good intermediate survival for infants with unpalliated HLHS.