Cardiac Transplantation: Update on a Road Less Traveled

Ochsner J. 2019 Winter;19(4):369-377. doi: 10.31486/toj.19.0022.


Background: With an aging population, the prevalence of heart failure continues to rise. The use of guideline-directed medical therapy and mechanical circulatory support devices has helped to improve outcomes, but cardiac transplantation remains the definitive treatment for end-stage heart failure. Methods: We provide an update on cardiac transplantation and review indications, contraindications, and important aspects of perioperative and postoperative management. We also highlight the current challenges faced by the transplant community. Results: Advances in surgical techniques and immunosuppression have increased survival rates posttransplant. However, the risk of rejection and adverse effects from chronic immunosuppression continue to affect long-term outcomes. Conclusion: Despite tremendous progress in the management of cardiac transplant patients, we have much opportunity to further optimize cardiac transplant waitlisting and improve posttransplant outcomes.

Keywords: Graft rejection; heart failure; heart transplantation; immunosuppression; primary graft dysfunction; waiting lists.

Publication types

  • Review