Background: Pediatric ventricular assist device (VAD) support as bridge to transplant has improved waitlist survival, but the effects of pre-implant status and VAD-related events on post-transplant outcomes have not been assessed. This study is a linkage analysis between the PediMACS and Pediatric Heart Transplant Study databases to determine the effects of VAD course on post-transplant outcomes.
Methods: Database linkage between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015 identified 147 transplanted VAD patients, the primary study group. The comparison cohort was composed of 630 PHTS patients without pre-transplant VAD support. The primary outcome was post-transplant survival, with secondary outcomes of post-transplant length of stay, freedom from infection and freedom from rejection.
Results: At implant, the VAD cohort was INTERMACS Profile 1 in 33 (23%), Profile 2 in 89 (63%) and Profile 3 in 14 (10%) patients. The VAD cohort was older, larger, and less likely to have congenital heart disease (p < 0.0001). However, they had greater requirements for inotrope and ventilator support and increased liver and renal dysfunction (p < 0.0001), both of which normalized at transplant after device support. Importantly, there were no differences in 1-year post-transplant survival (96% vs 93%, p = 0.3), freedom from infection (81% vs 79%, p = 0.9) or freedom from rejection (71% vs 74%, p = 0.87) between cohorts.
Conclusions: Pediatric VAD patients have post-transplant outcomes equal to that of medically supported patients, despite greater pre-implant illness severity. Post-transplant survival, hospital length of stay, infection and rejection were not affected by patient acuity at VAD implantation or VAD-related complications. Therefore, VAD as bridge to transplant mitigates severity of illness in children.
Keywords: PHTS; PediMACS; Pediatric Heart Transplant Study; VAD; heart transplant; pediatric; ventricular assist device.
Copyright © 2017 International Society for the Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.