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Pediatr Transplant. 2001 Dec;5(6):457-62.

Heart transplantation in children and infants: short-term outcome and long-term follow-up.

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Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University Giessen, Giessen, Germany.


Since 1988, 82 heart transplants have been performed in 80 infants and children. Diagnoses pretransplant were: hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) (n = 43); cardiomyopathy (n = 19); endocardial fibroelastosis (n = 6); and other complex congenital heart diseases (n = 12). Age at transplantation was < 1 yr in 61 patients. Overall survival rate was 79% at 1 yr and 73% at 5 and 10 yr. To date, 20 patients have died after transplantation. Causes of death were: rejection (eight patients); right ventricular failure (four patients); transplant coronary artery disease (TCAD) (two patients); and other causes (six patients). In the majority of patients somatic growth is not impaired, and renal function is reduced (but stable) in all patients. Two patients developed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, which was treated successfully. Major long-term morbidity is neurologic deficit - severe in three patients and minor in six. TCAD was present or suspected in six surviving patients. We conclude that heart transplantation in infants and children can be performed with good early and late results. Quality of life is excellent in most patients. TCAD, however, will become an increasing problem in the long term.

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