Donor Brain Death Mechanisms and Outcomes After Heart Transplantation

O. Cohen, D. J. De La Zerda, R. Beygui, D. Hekmat, H. Laks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We sought to explore whether the cause of donor brain death influenced recipient outcomes after cardiac transplantation. In retrospect, 358 consecutive donors provided cardiac allografts to adult patients undergoing orthotopic heart transplantation at a single urban US medical center from January 2000 through December 2005. Alternate recipients were excluded. Mechanism and cause of donor brain injury and death were divided into five categories: anoxia (nontraumatic) (n = 36), blunt head trauma (n = 220), penetrating head trauma (n = 83), brain tumor/infection (n = 7), and cerebrovascular event (n = 12). The five subgroups were categorized as traumatic or nontraumatic. The end points of the study were causes of early and late mortality, survival, and rejection rate. There were 59 deaths in the 6-year period. Total and short-term recipient mortality were found to be statistically higher among heart transplant recipients when the donors suffered from traumatic brain death compared to those whose brain death etiology was nontraumatic (P = .045, P = .033, respectively). Rejection rate was similar in all groups (P = .497). In conclusion, donor traumatic brain death was found to be a valid risk factor for recipient mortality after heart transplantation. Caution should be used when evaluating such donors, particularly in the presence of other risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2964-2969
Number of pages6
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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