The impact of heart failure severity at time of listing for cardiac transplantation on survival in pediatric cardiomyopathy

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2011 Jul;30(7):755-60. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2011.01.718. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


Background: The survival benefit of heart transplantation in adult heart failure is greatest for the sickest patients and negligible for patients not requiring inotropic or mechanical support. We hypothesized a similar survival benefit of heart transplantation for childhood cardiomyopathies with heart failure.

Methods: A merged data set of children registered in both the Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry and the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study was used to assess differences in mortality before and after transplant in patients with different levels of heart failure severity. Severity was scored 2 if mechanical ventilatory or circulatory support was required, 1 if intravenous inotropes were required, or 0 if no support was required.

Results: For 332 eligible children, 12-month mortality after listing was 9% for those with a severity score of 0 (n = 105), 16% with a score of 1 (n = 118), and 26% with a score of 2 (n = 109; p = 0.002) with a 3%, 8%, and 20% mortality with severity scores at listing of 0, 1, and 2, respectively, occurring before transplant. Patients listed with a score of 0 frequently deteriorated: 50% received an allograft or died before transplant with severity scores of 1 or 2. The risk of deterioration increased with previous surgery (relative risk, 3.84; p = 0.03) in the short-term and with lower left ventricular mass z-score at time of presentation (relative risk, 1.74; p = 0.003) in the longer-term.

Conclusion: Pediatric cardiomyopathy patients who require high levels of support receive a survival benefit from heart transplantation that is not shared by patients not requiring intravenous inotropic or mechanical support.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Assisted Circulation
  • Cardiomyopathies / mortality*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Heart Transplantation* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Risk
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waiting Lists / mortality*


  • Cardiotonic Agents