A survey of nine years heart transplantation at Erasme Hospital, University of Brussels

Acta Cardiol. 1991;46(5):555-65.


Between March 1982 and March 1991, 225 heart transplantations (HTx) have been performed in 220 patients suffering end stage cardiac disease. Thirteen percent were females and 87% were males. Age range was from 5 to 68 years. The underlying cardiac disease was ischemic cardiopathy in 51.5%, congestive dilated cardiomyopathy in 42%, valvular cardiomyopathy in 3.5%, toxic myocarditis (post-adriamycin) in 1.5% and chronic rejection in 2.5% (retransplantation). Selection of the recipients was done following the currently well established criteria also taking into account the absolute major contraindications for HTx. Due to the still increasing demand of donor organs, currently donor age has been extended up to 50 years for male and 55 years for female donors. One quarter of the grafts were harvested on site in our institution, two other quarters were harvested somewhere else in Belgium and the last quarter provided by other countries cooperating with Eurotransplant. All patients have undergone orthotopic cardiac transplantation using the standard Lower and Shumway technique. Immunosuppression protocols have changed four times throughout the years. Nevertheless all were based on the use of Ciclosporine variously combined with other current immunosuppressive drugs. Rejection monitoring relied on routine endocardiac biopsy and was diagnosed according to the Billingham criteria. The in-hospital mortality is currently 11%. Infection, early right heart graft failure and acute rejection were the leading causes of death. The major causes of early morbidity were several curable infections, reversible rejection episodes, transient acute renal failure and controllable arterial hypertension. Among the survivors followed for at least one month up to nine years, half of late mortality was caused by chronic rejection followed by infection, sudden death, metabolic disorders, stroke and malignancy. Late morbidity involves cases of mild coronary graft diseases, biological renal insufficiency, some degree of arterial hypertension, dislipidemia. Current actuarial survival rate is 87% at one year, 76% at 5 years up to 9 years. Our experience confirms that HTx represents today and effective therapy for selected patients suffering end stage cardiac disease.

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Belgium
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation* / mortality
  • Heart Transplantation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Care
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors


  • Cyclosporine