Heart transplantation of patients with ventricular assist devices: impact of normothermic ex-vivo preservation using organ care system compared with cold storage

J Cardiothorac Surg. 2020 Oct 27;15(1):323. doi: 10.1186/s13019-020-01367-w.


Background: Organ Care System (OCS) minimizes the cold ischemic time and allows for optimization of logistics and meticulous recipient preparation. Impact of normothermic ex-vivo preservation using OCS compared with cold storage (CS) for prolonged heart preservation especially beneficial for high-risk recipients bridged to transplantation with Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS).

Methods: Between 2012 and 2018, we performed a retrospective single-center review of prospectively collected data. All patients who underwent heart transplantation with MCS using the OCS Heart (n = 25) versus standard cold storage (n = 10) were included in this study.

Results: During this period, 353 patients were implanted with left ventricular assisted device (LVAD) and 35 (10%) were bridged to heart transplantation. There was no significant difference in donor and recipient characteristics and risk factors. The Index for Mortality Prediction after Cardiac Transplantation (IMPACT) score was a trend towards higher estimated risk of death at 1y in the OCS group (14.2 vs. 10.8% p = 0.083). Mean total ischemic time during preservation was statistically significantly longer in CS vs OCS group (210 (23) Vs 74.6 (13) min p = 0.001). Median ex vivo normothermic heart perfusion time in OCS was 348.4(132; 955) min. There was significant difference in total out of body time between OCS group 423(67) Vs CS group 210(23) min p = 0.002). All patients were alive on the 30th days post implant in CS groups and 96% in OCS group (p = 0.5).

Conclusion: Normothermic ex-vivo preservation of the allograft during transportation with the organ care system might be beneficial for long-time out of body organ preservation in comparison of cold storage especially for recipients on mechanical circulatory support.

Keywords: Ex vivo organ preservation; Heart transplantation; High-risk recipients; Mechanical circulatory support.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cryopreservation / methods
  • Extracorporeal Circulation / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / surgery*
  • Heart Transplantation / methods*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tissue Donors*