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Ann Thorac Surg. 2004 Aug;78(2):644-9; discussion 644-9.

Cardiac retransplantation in children.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, 1365 Clinton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.



Experience with pediatric cardiac retransplantation is limited. Outcomes should be inspected to insure proper use of donor hearts.


Of 152 pediatric heart transplantations, we performed 20 retransplants in 17 children (3 had a second retransplant). The retransplant children were older than the primary transplant children (11.1 +/- 4.4 years versus 7.1 +/- 6.0 years; p = 0.005). Excluding 1 early retransplant, the interval from primary transplant to retransplant was 5.5 +/- 3.3 years (range, 1.1 to 11.1). The retransplant patients were clinically more ill than the primary transplant patients (United Network for Organ Sharing status I, 75% versus 63%; mechanical circulatory support or dialysis, 20% versus 3.8%).


Donor ischemia time (188 versus 165 minutes) and cardiopulmonary bypass time (127 versus 127 minutes) were not significantly different for the retransplant patients. Excluding 1 retransplant patient who required a tracheostomy, days on the ventilator (2.7 versus 2.7), days on inotropic support (3.0 versus 3.2), intensive care unit days (7.2 versus 6.7), and hospital days (15.9 versus 13.8) were similar in the retransplant group. Freedom from rejection at 90 days and 1 year was not different in the retransplant patients. Actuarial patient survival in the patients undergoing first retransplant was similar to the primary transplant patients at 30 days (95% versus 94.7%), 1 year (94.1% versus 80.7%), and 3 years (78.4% versus 73.1%). Two of 3 children receiving a third transplant died within 1 year of redo retransplantation.


Cardiac retransplantation can be performed in children with results comparable with those for primary transplantation despite increased clinical acuity. These early results suggest that cardiac retransplantation in children is a reasonable therapeutic option. Children with repeat retransplantation do not fare as well.

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