Use of mechanical circulatory support in pediatric patients with acute cardiac graft rejection

ASAIO J. 2007 Nov-Dec;53(6):701-5. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e31815d68bf.


Patients suffering from acute cardiac graft rejection can die because of hemodynamic collapse while being treated with vigorous immunosuppressive therapies. There is little pediatric data on the use of mechanical circulatory support (MCS) in patients with acute cardiac graft rejection accompanied by hemodynamic instability. This report reviews our experience using MCS in patients with severe acute allograft rejection and cardiogenic shock. Between July 1995 and December 2006, 7 of 117 heart transplant recipients (6%) had MCS placed in 8 cases of acute graft rejection with hemodynamic instability. Devices used were BioMedicus (five), Thoratec (two), and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (one). Mean age was 12 +/- 6.6 years. Median duration of support was 7.5 days (range, 3-28 days). Medical therapy applied included pulse steroids (eight), antithymocyte globulin (five), intravenous immunoglobulins (five), and plasmapheresis (five). Eighty-eight percent (seven of eight cases) weaned from MCS. Five patients weaned to recovery and two were bridged to retransplant. Five of the seven patients weaned (71%) were discharged home, all with normal left ventricular function. Median follow-up was 3.0 years (4.5 months to 3.5 years). One-year survival is 50% and 3 year survival is 38%. Mechanical circulatory support can be applied in patients with acute cardiac graft rejection causing hemodynamic instability with acceptable weaning and discharge rates. Unfortunately, late survival for this cohort remains poor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Assisted Circulation / mortality
  • Assisted Circulation / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection / surgery*
  • Heart Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / complications
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / therapy
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome