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JAMA. 1998 Nov 18;280(19):1692-8.

Current status of cardiac transplantation.

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  • Stanford University Medical Center, CA 94305, USA.


Cardiac transplantation, first introduced 30 years ago, has become a widely used and increasingly important procedure for treatment of truly end-stage heart disease. Current use is limited strictly by donor supply, making selection of appropriate recipients an important ethical and societal issue. Survival rates after transplantation rose in the 1980s with the use of cyclosporine and have remained relatively consistent since then, although recipients older than 65 years or younger than 1 year have lower survival rates than recipients of other ages. Although immunosuppressive drugs have helped establish cardiac transplantation as a successful procedure, risks of opportunistic infection and rejection, as well as coronary arteriopathy, have led to development of new immunosuppressive agents currently under study. Future alternatives to the current technology of cardiac allotransplantation may include xenotransplantation and/or nonbiological replacement of the heart with mechanical devices.

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