Revision of the 1990 working formulation for the standardization of nomenclature in the diagnosis of heart rejection

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2005 Nov;24(11):1710-20. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2005.03.019. Epub 2005 Jun 20.


In 1990, an international grading system for cardiac allograft biopsies was adopted by the International Society for Heart Transplantation. This system has served the heart transplant community well, facilitating communication between transplant centers, especially with regard to patient management and research. In 2004, under the direction of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT), a multidisciplinary review of the cardiac biopsy grading system was undertaken to address challenges and inconsistencies in its use and to address recent advances in the knowledge of antibody-mediated rejection. This article summarizes the revised consensus classification for cardiac allograft rejection. In brief, the revised (R) categories of cellular rejection are as follows: Grade 0 R--no rejection (no change from 1990); Grade 1 R--mild rejection (1990 Grades 1A, 1B and 2); Grade 2 R--moderate rejection (1990 Grade 3A); and Grade 3 R--severe rejection (1990 Grades 3B and 4). Because the histologic sub-types of Quilty A and Quilty B have never been shown to have clinical significance, the "A" and "B" designations have been eliminated. Recommendations are also made for the histologic recognition and immunohistologic investigation of acute antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) with the expectation that greater standardization of the assessment of this controversial entity will clarify its clinical significance. Technical considerations in biopsy processing are also addressed. This consensus revision of the Working Formulation was approved by the ISHLT Board of Directors in December 2004.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Endocardium / pathology
  • Graft Rejection / classification*
  • Graft Rejection / pathology*
  • Heart Transplantation / pathology*
  • Heart Transplantation / standards
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Muscle Cells / pathology
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Transplantation, Homologous