Heart transplantation (HT) for myocarditis has been controversial because of earlier reports of a poor prognosis after the procedure. We sought to determine whether lymphocytic myocarditis (LM) at the time of HT affects cardiac allograft rejection and survival after HT compared with other patients without LM in the current era of HT. We retrospectively reviewed 759 consecutive patients who underwent de novo HT at Columbia University Medical Center between 2000 and 2010 and compared prognosis after HT of the patients with pathologically proven LM in their explanted hearts with that of age- and gender-matched patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC group; n = 96) and with ischemic cardiomyopathy (IC group; n = 64). Thirty-two patients (4.2%) had LM in the explanted hearts pathologically. Among the 3 groups, no statistically significant difference was observed in the number of biopsy-diagnosed acute cellular rejection (ACR; International Society for Heart & Lung Transportation grade ≥2R) events during the first year after HT. In contrast, the frequency of biopsy-diagnosed ACR in subsequent years was greater in the LM group (n = 8, 3.8%) than in IC group (n = 3, 0.5%, p = 0.006), although no different from that of patients with IDC. The frequency of antibody-mediated rejection and posttransplant survival did not differ among the 3 groups. In conclusion, patients with pre-HT LM have an increased frequency of late ACR after HT compared with patients with IC. Nevertheless, survival of LM patients after HT is comparable to that of patients transplanted for IDC or IC.
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