Background. The success of heart transplantation led to the extension of the criteria for both recipients and donors. The aim of the study was to evaluate the experience with this therapeutic approach for end-stage heart failure at a single center. Methods. Between April 1986 and January 1996, 1,413 patients were accepted as candidates for heart transplantation. Ventricular assist devices were used as a bridge to transplantation in 173 patients (biventricular assist device in 141 patients and left ventricular assist device in 32 patients). The longest duration of support was 572 days (average, 46 days). Results. Of the 1,413 patients, 891 underwent heart transplantation (65 children/adolescents and 826 adults); 522 (36%) patients died awaiting a donor heart. The average time spent on the waiting list was 107 days. The average recipient age was 44 years, and the age of donors was extended up to 69 years. Eighty-three patients with ventricular assist devices (48%) subsequently underwent heart transplantation. Twenty-five patients (2.7%) underwent retransplantation. The 30-day mortality rate was 14%, and the overall actual survival at 1, 5, and 10 years was 80%, 59%, and 50%, respectively. Ninety-four percent of patients were in New York Heart Association functional class I or II at 1 year, and 44% returned to work after transplantation. Conclusions. Despite the broadening of the selection criteria for both recipients and donors, heart transplantation remains an effective treatment for end-stage heart failure. Nevertheless, this therapeutic approach is severely limited by a considerable disparity between the need and availability of donor organs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine