Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Complications and Mortality in the Early Postoperative Period After Heart Transplantation

Transplant Proc. 2024 May;56(4):841-845. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2024.04.014. Epub 2024 May 6.


Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak directly impacted heart transplantation (HT) surgery activity. Reallocating resources and converting surgical intensive care units to COVID-19 facilities led to reduced accessibility and quality of health care facilities to heart recipient patients.

Aim: To study the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on heart transplantation activity and outcomes in the early postoperative period.

Methods: Retrospective data analysis of patients undergoing orthotopic heart transplantation in our institution from March 2018 to February 2022. The patient population (N = 281) included 223 (79.4%) men and 58 (20.6%) women. The perioperative data of the prepandemic group, March 2018 to February 2020 (N = 130), and the pandemic group, March 2020 to February 2022 (N = 151), were compared.

Results: We found differences in preoperative inotropic support between the groups (N = 43 (33.1%) vs N = 72 (47.7%), P < .05), respectively). The number of urgent HTs increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (N = 51 (39.2%), vs N = 72 (47.7%), P = .155). Analyzed groups did not differ according to renal, pulmonary, or neurology complications. Intensive care unit (ICU) standing time was longer in the pandemic group (6 days [3-12] vs 11 days [5-12], P < .001).

Conclusion: We found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of end-stage heart failure recipients requiring cardiac support increased. Extended time of ICU standing in the pandemic group may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some efforts have been made to reduce the impact of the pandemic, more research is required.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Postoperative Complications* / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2