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Am J Cardiol. 1989 Feb 15;63(7):461-4.

Efficacy of medical therapy tailored for severe congestive heart failure in patients transferred for urgent cardiac transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine.


Cardiac transplantation can only be performed in a few patients with severe congestive heart failure (CHF), due to the shortage of donor hearts. The efficacy of current medical therapy tailored for severe CHF, which has not previously been determined for transplant candidates, is of particular importance in patients considered for urgent cardiac transplantation. In this study, 50 consecutive in-patients transferred from other hospitals for urgent transplantation underwent intensive afterload reduction therapy, initially with intravenous and subsequently with oral vasodilators and diuretics tailored to hemodynamic goals. Oral regimens allowed hospital discharge without surgery for 40 of 50 patients. Nineteen of these patients had arrived on inotropic infusions and 32 had received oral vasodilators in the previous month. Cardiac index increased from 1.9 +/- 0.6 to 2.8 +/- 0.7 liters/min/m2, while pulmonary capillary wedge pressure decreased from 30 +/- 8 to 15 +/- 4 mm Hg and systemic vascular resistance decreased from 1,800 +/- 800 to 1,100 +/- 200 dynes-s-cm-5. Despite poor initial hemodynamics, ejection fraction 16 +/- 4%, serum sodium 131 +/- 6 mEq/liter, and apparent failure of previous medical therapy, actuarial survival for 24 discharged patients receiving sustained medical therapy alone was 67% at 1 year, with 67% of survivors employed full- or part-time, and 14 of 16 (88%) discharged transplant candidates survived until transplantation. By decreasing the need for transplantation to be performed urgently, increased emphasis on the design of medical therapy may allow more effective distribution of limited donor hearts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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