COVID-19 management in heart transplanted recipients: registry of Almazov National Medical Research Centre

Kardiologiia. 2021 Jan 19;60(12):4-12. doi: 10.18087/cardio.2020.12.n1342.


Aim This study presents the experience of managing patients with COVID-19 after cardiac transplantation (CT).Material and methods Infectious complications (IC) following CT are a leading cause for morbidity and mortality. A prolonged incubation period, atypical IC symptoms, and originally altered results of laboratory and instrumental diagnosis are characteristic of recipients due to immunosuppression. In 2020, the coronavirus infection (COVID-19) rapidly spread worldwide, and timely diagnosis and searching for effective treatments for this disease became a major challenge. From January 2010 through July 2020, 148 patients received orthotopic heart transplants at the V.A. Almazov National Medical Research Center; 34 of these patients died by the present time and were excluded from this analysis. 114 patients were included into the retrospective evaluation of results. These patients had been a part of the group followed up at the Center for more than a month.Results From March through July 2020, 12 (10.5 %) of 114 CT recipients were infected with the virus SARS-CoV-2. In 75 % (n=9) of the sick patients, the COVID-19 infection developed after more than one year after CT. From the first day of clinical symptoms, mycophenolic acid/everolimus were temporarily suspended. The outpatient treatment was started on the first day and included an antiviral therapy (oseltamivir), mucolytics (bromhexine), vitamin C, and anticoagulants. If the disease onset was associated with pyretic fever the empiric antibacterial levofloxacin treatment was administered due to a high risk of mixed infection. Hospitalized patients with moderately severe COVID-19 (n=3) were treated with oxygen inhalation through nasal cannula and prone position with a positive effect.Conclusion Remote counseling of patients after CT and consistency of the outpatient treatment with recommendations of managing transplant physicians provided timely diagnosis of IC, early administration of treatment, and the absence of COVID-19 complications. Reducing the regimen of immunosuppressive therapy (antiproliferative agents) for up to 14 days facilitated infection control and was not associated with acute rejection crisis and/or impairment of the transplant function.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2