Effect of sensitization in US heart transplant recipients bridged with a ventricular assist device: Update in a modern cohort

George J. Arnaoutakis, Timothy J. George, Arman Kilic, Eric S. Weiss, Stuart D. Russell, John Conte, Ashish S. Shah

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65 Scopus citations


Objective: Preformed anti-human leukocyte antigen antibodies have been associated with prolonged wait times and increased mortality in orthotopic heart transplantation. We used United Network for Organ Sharing data to examine panel reactive antibody titers in patients bridged to transplant with left ventricular assist devices. Methods: This was a retrospective review of the United Network for Organ Sharing dataset for all patients bridged to orthotopic heart transplantation with a HeartMate II or HeartMate XVE (Thoratec Corp, Pleasanton, Calif) from January 2004 to December 2009. Patients were primarily stratified by device type and secondarily grouped for comparisons by high (>25%) versus low (0%) panel reactive antibody activity (class I and II). Outcomes included survival (30-day and 1-year), treated rejection in the year after orthotopic heart transplantation, and primary graft dysfunction. Cox proportional hazards regression examined 30-day and 1-year survival. Results: A total of 871 patients (56.1%) received the HeartMate II device, and 673 patients (43.9%) received the HeartMate XVE device. Patients with high panel reactive antibody had longer duration on the wait list (205 days [interquartile range, 81-344] vs 124 days [interquartile range, 51-270], P = .01). High panel reactive antibody class II was more common in patients with the HeartMate XVE device (51/547 [9.3%] vs 42/777 [5.4%], P < .001). When the entire cohort was examined together, there was no 30-day or 1-year survival difference based on panel reactive antibody activity. Device type did not affect post-orthotopic heart transplantation survival, and panel reactive antibody activity was not associated with worse mortality in Cox regression. Although panel reactive antibody activity did not affect rejection in the year after orthotopic heart transplantation for either device type, high panel reactive antibody class II was associated with higher rates of primary graft dysfunction for both devices (P < .05). Conclusions: This is the largest modern study to examine the impact of detailed panel reactive antibody information in patients bridged to transplant. High panel reactive antibody levels do not affect drug-treated rejection episodes in the first year post-orthotopic heart transplantation; however, there is an associated higher rate of primary graft dysfunction, regardless of device type. Highly sensitized patients bridged to transplant experience excellent survival outcomes after orthotopic heart transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1245.e1
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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