Background: Reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) in the donor heart is often a contraindication for transplant. However, small studies have validated the use of hearts with evidence of myocardial dysfunction to boost the number of organs available for transplant. We hypothesize that donor hearts with reduced EF undergo myocardial recovery after transplant and result in equivalent recipient survival compared with grafts with normal function.
Methods: We examined post-operative outcomes of heart recipients in the database of the United Network for Organ Sharing. Patients were grouped by donor EF as follows: <40% (reduced EF); between 40% and 50% (borderline EF); and ≥50% (normal EF). Propensity score matching was performed to compare separately reduced and borderline EF patients with normal EF patients.
Results: Of 30,993 donors from 1996 to 2015, 127 (0.4%) had reduced EF, 613 (2.0%) had borderline EF and 30,253 (97.6%) had normal EF. In each of the 2 propensity score comparisons, the odds of post-operative stroke (p = 0.139, p = 0.551), pacemaker requirement (p = 0.238, p = 0.739), primary graft failure (p = 0.569, p = 0.817), rejection (p = 0.376, p = 0.533) and death at 1 year (p = 0.124, p = 0.247) were equivalent. At roughly 1-year follow-up after transplant, the mean EF of the reduced EF group was 58.0 ± 10.3% compared with 59.5 ± 7.5% in the matched normal EF group (p = 0.289). The mean follow-up EF of the borderline EF group was 58.3 ± 9.1% compared with 59.3 ± 7.7% in the matched normal EF group (p = 0.106).
Conclusions: Recipients of hearts with reduced EF have equivalent 1-year survival compared with recipients of hearts with normal EF. Donor hearts with reduced EF show significant functional recovery after transplant.
Keywords: heart transplantation; organ donation; propensity score matching; recipient outcomes; reduced ejection fraction.
Copyright © 2017 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.