Should orthotopic heart transplantation using marginal donors be limited to higher volume centers?

Arman Kilic, Eric S. Weiss, Jeremiah G. Allen, Timothy J. George, David D. Yuh, Ashish S. Shah, John V. Conte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This study examined whether institutional volume impacts outcomes after orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) utilizing marginal donors. Adult patients undergoing OHT with the use of marginal donors between 2000 and 2010 were identified in the United Network for Organ Sharing database. A previously derived and validated donor risk score (range, 1 to 15) was used to define marginal donors as those in the 90th percentile of risk (score <7). Patients were stratified into equal-size tertiles based on overall institutional OHT volume. Posttransplant outcomes were compared between these center cohorts. A total of 3,176 OHTs utilizing marginal donors were identified. In Cox regression analysis, recipients undergoing OHT at low-volume centers were at significantly increased risk of 30-day (hazard ratio 1.82 [1.31 to 2.54], p < 0.001), 1-year (hazard ratio 1.40 [1.14 to 1.73], p = 0.002), and 5-year posttransplant mortality (hazard ratio 1.29 [1.10 to 1.52], p = 0.02). These findings persisted after adjusting for recipient risk, differences in donor risk score, and year of transplantation (each p < 0.05). In Kaplan-Meier analysis, there was a similar trend of decreasing 1-year survival with decreasing center volume: high (86.0%), intermediate (85.7%), and low (81.2%; log rank p = 0.003). Drug-treated rejection within the first post-OHT year was more common in low-volume versus high-volume centers (34.3% versus 24.2%, p < 0.001). At an overall mean follow-up of 3.4 ± 2.9 years, low-volume centers also had higher incidences of death due to malignancy (2.8% versus 1.3%, p = 0.01) or infection (6.2% versus 4.1%, p = 0.02). Consolidating the use of marginal donors to higher volume centers may be prudent in improving post-OHT outcomes in this higher risk patient subset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-702
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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