Heart retransplantation

Am J Transplant. 2007 Sep;7(9):2075-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2007.01902.x. Epub 2007 Jul 19.


Retransplants comprise only a small minority (3-4%) of heart transplants, however outcome following retransplantation is compromised. Risk factors for a poor outcome following retransplantation include retransplantation early (<6 months) after primary transplant, retransplantation for acute rejection or early allograft failure, and retransplantation in an earlier era. The incidence of rejection and infection is similar following primary transplant and retransplantation. The compromised outcomes and risk factors for a poor outcome are similar in adult and pediatric heart retransplantation. However, due to the short half-life of the transplanted heart, it is an expectation that patients transplanted in childhood may require retransplantation. Based on the data available and the opinion of the working group, indications for heart retransplantation are (i) chronic severe cardiac allograft vasculopathy with symptoms of ischemia or heart failure (should be considered) or asymptomatic moderate or severe left ventricular dysfunction (may be considered) or (ii) chronic graft dysfunction with symptoms of progressive heart failure in the absence of active rejection. Patients with graft failure due to acute rejection with hemodynamic compromise, especially <6 months post-transplant, are inappropriate candidates for retransplantation. In addition, guidelines established for primary transplant candidacy should be strictly followed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Graft Rejection / surgery*
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Reoperation / methods
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data