Donor Age Is Associated With Chronic Allograft Vasculopathy After Adult Heart Transplantation: Implications for Donor Allocation

Alykhan S. Nagji, Tjasa Hranjec, Brian R. Swenson, John A. Kern, James D. Bergin, David R. Jones, Irving L. Kron, Christine L. Lau, Gorav Ailawadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Background: Chronic allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a major cause of long-term complications and mortality after heart transplantation. Although recipient factors have been implicated, little is known of the role of donor factors in CAV development. We sought to identify donor factors associated with development of CAV after heart transplantation. Methods: We reviewed the United Network for Organ Sharing heart transplant database from August 1987 to May 2008. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the association between donor variables and the onset of CAV for adult recipients. Donor age was matched to recipient age and analyzed with respect to development of CAV. Results: Of the 39,704 recipients, a total of 11,714 (29.5%) experienced CAV. Multivariate analysis demonstrated seven donor factors as independent predictors of CAV: age, ethnicity, sex, weight, history of diabetes, hypertension, and tobacco use. When matching young donors (0 to 19.9 years) and old donors (≥50 years) to each recipient age group, older donors (≥50 years) conferred a higher risk of developing CAV. Further modeling demonstrated that for each recipient group, older donor age (≥50 years) conferred a higher risk of CAV development compared with younger donor age (0 to 19.9 years; p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Donor factors including sex, hypertension, diabetes, and tobacco use are independently associated with recipient CAV. Older donor age confers a greater risk of CAV development regardless of the age of the recipient. A heightened awareness for the development of CAV is warranted when using older donors in adult cardiac transplantation, in particular with recipients 40 years of age or older.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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