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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2013 Mar;32(3):285-92. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2012.11.022. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

ABO-incompatible heart transplantation in early childhood: an international multicenter study of clinical experiences and limits.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. urschel@ualberta.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Intentional blood group (BG)-incompatible (ABOi) heart transplantation in childhood is emerging in many centers. Safety limits remain undetermined. In this multicenter study we have compiled experience on clinical and immunologic boundaries.

METHODS:

Data from six centers in Europe and North America on ABOi transplantation were collected in a standardized survey.

RESULTS:

Fifty-eight ABOi transplants were performed in 57 patients. Median age at transplant was 6.8 months (0.03 to 90 months); post-transplant follow-up was 37.7 months (0.46 to 117 months), accumulating 188 patient-years. Forty-seven percent of the patients received pretransplant mechanical circulatory support. Donors were either blood group A (n = 25), B (n = 18) or AB (n = 15). The median peak antibody titer to the donor BG pretransplant was 1:8 (0 to 1:64) for anti-A and 1:4 (0 to 1:32) for anti-B. Titers against the donor BG were lower post- than pretransplant in B recipients (p = 0.02), whereas third-party antibodies in BG O recipients developed normally post-transplant. Induction immunosuppression included anti-thymocyte globulin (61%), basiliximab (32%) or none (7%). All patients received calcineurin inhibitors, including 62% with mycophenolate mofetil, 10% with azathioprine, 2% with everolimus and 24% with steroids. There were 4 episodes of cellular rejection (Grade≥2R) and 7 antibody-mediated rejections. Five patients underwent antibody removal post-transplant. One patient developed severe graft vasculopathy. Freedom from death or retransplantation was 100%/96%/69% at 1/5/10 years. No graft loss was attributed to BG antibodies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Successful ABOi heart transplantation can be performed at an older age and with higher isohemagglutinin titers than initially assumed and using similar immunosuppressive regimens as for ABO-compatible transplants. Rejection and graft vasculopathy are rare. Persistently low titers of antibodies to the donor BG post-transplant suggest elements of tolerance and/or accommodation.

Copyright © 2013 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
23305695
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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