Background: Donor heart shortage has necessitated the expansion of the donor pool by the use of older hearts. Patients and methods: In a 13-year period, 1,070 heart transplants were performed in 1,035 adults at the German Heart Institute Berlin. We divided the patients into 3 groups: Group I, donor age <35 years (n = 524); Group II, donor age 35 to 50 years (n = 379); Group III, donor age >50 years (n = 167). We analyzed post-operative mortality (up to 30 days), cumulative survival rates, cardiac dependent morbidity, and changes in the left/right ventricular ejection fraction as well as freedom from cytomegalovirus infection and freedom from acute rejection episodes grade ≥ 2 (International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation). We also calculated the rate of cardiac interventions per patient in the groups. Results: Recipients in Group III were significantly older, compared with Groups I and II. The post-operative mortality was 16.8% in Group I, 29.8% in Group II, and 23.4% in Group III. The differences were significant (p = 0.00001) between Group I and Group II. The long-term cumulative survival rates were significantly better in Group I when compared with Groups II and III (p < 0.00001, p = 0.014), but it did not differ between Groups II and III (p = 0.18). However, cardiac morbidity in Groups I and II was significantly lower when compared with Group III (p = 0.0009, p = 0.037). Mean left and right ventricular ejection fraction was >55% and did not significantly change in groups for up to 10 years. Freedom from cytomegalovirus infection was not significantly different between Groups II and III (p = 0.09). Significantly fewer percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasties were performed in Group I, but comparable numbers were carried out in Groups II and III (p = 0.53). For retransplantation a similar situation occurred. Conclusion: We did not find significant differences in the mid-term follow-up between patients who received hearts from 35- to 50-year-old donors and from those who had received hearts from donors >50 years, despite increased cardiac morbidity in Group III. Close monitoring of the coronary situation after heart transplantation and expanded indications for revascularization in Group III makes heart transplantation with older hearts a suitable option to save the lives of patients in end-stage heart failure. Copyright (C) 2000 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine