Use of induction therapy in pediatric heart transplant recipients in Switzerland - Analysis of the Swiss national database

Transpl Immunol. 2021 Oct;68:101443. doi: 10.1016/j.trim.2021.101443. Epub 2021 Aug 2.


Background: Data on individualized immunosuppressive protocols for the pediatric heart recipients are missing in Europe. To contribute to this very small but specialized field, we describe the use of induction therapy (IT) in pediatric heart transplant patients in Switzerland and the retrospective outcomes.

Method: This is a retrospective national database analysis of children <19 years of age at time of heart transplantation (HT) from 05/2008-01/2018. Use of IT or no IT, use of steroids, calculated panel reactive antibodies (cPRA) and outcomes (Mortality, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD), rejection rates) were studied within a mean follow-up period of 2.9 years (0.2-8.1 years).

Results: All 32 patients (12♂, 20♀), median age at HT of 6.4 years (24 days - 18 years) received IT using either polyclonal antibodies (ATG; 72%) or interleukin-2 receptor antagonist (anti-IL-2R mAb; 28%). Length of treatment was median of 4 (1-63) days. At time of HT all patients received steroids, while at discharge 32% and one year after HT 19%. Kaplan-Meier analysis of survival revealed a one-year survival of 86%. Three out of 7 patients with elevated cPRA (43%) died. Median time to first treated rejection was 19.4 months (±60.5 SD) without significant difference if treated with anti-IL-2R mAb or ATG (p:0.5). No development of PTLD, chronic renal failure needing ongoing renal replacement therapy or diabetes mellitus were recorded.

Discussion: This is the first report of the national practice use of IT within Switzerland. It reveals a high use of IT, no development of PTLD and a low use of steroids at one-year post HT.

Keywords: Induction therapy; Interleukin-2 receptor antagonis; Pediatric heart transplantation; Polyclonal antibodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Induction Chemotherapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents