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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006 Feb;131(2):455-61.

Impact on outcomes after listing and transplantation, of a strategy to accept ABO blood group-incompatible donor hearts for neonates and infants.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Recent data suggest that ABO blood group-incompatible donor hearts are immunologically well tolerated in infants undergoing transplantation.


Competing-risks methodology was used to assess outcomes after listing and the impact of a strategy to accept heart grafts from any blood group donor for infants less than 18 months of age.


From 1992 to 2002, there were 91 listing episodes in 84 patients (including 20 fetuses; 50% were male and 63% had congenital heart disease). Beginning in 1995, a strategy to accept ABO-incompatible organs was adopted. Competing-risks analysis showed that after 20 months 60% underwent transplantation, 18% died, and less than 1% were still listed; the remaining 21% were de-listed because of a change of surgical strategy (9%), improved clinical condition (8%), and deterioration to ineligibility (4%). Risk factors for transplantation included only a strategy to accept ABO-incompatible organs (P <.001). Risk factors for death included failure to accept ABO-incompatible organs (P =.002) and Canadian listing status 3 (P =.085) or 4 (P <.001). Multivariable parametric models were used to create competing risk predictions for outcomes specific to status and ABO-incompatible strategy. Higher status resulted in greater mortality regardless of strategy, although for any status, more patients underwent transplantation and fewer died using a strategy to accept ABO-incompatible organs. Parametric modeling of time-related freedom from death or retransplantation demonstrated no significant difference at 4 years posttransplantation (P =.78) for ABO-incompatible (74%) versus ABO-compatible transplants (72%).


A strategy to accept ABO-incompatible donor hearts for infant transplantation significantly improves the likelihood of transplantation and reduces waiting list mortality while not adversely altering outcomes after transplantation.

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