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Transplant Proc. 2007 Dec;39(10):3297-302.

Ethnicity as a predictor of graft longevity and recipient mortality in heart transplantation.

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Department of Cardiac Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.



There is a dearth of data about the effect of donor and recipient ethnicity on survival and rejection rate after clinical heart transplantation, although the subject had been partly studied before. We compared the mortality and rejection rate among different ethnic groups at our institution.


In retrospect, 525 consecutive donors provided cardiac allografts to adult and pediatric patients undergoing orthotropic heart transplantation at a single, urban US medical center between 2000 and 2005. Donors and recipients were categorized according to ethnicity: African American, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Others (Indian, Mediterranean/Arabic, Afghans). Donor and recipient ethnicity-as an independent factor and the interaction between them-were examined as a risk factor for mortality and rejection after heart transplantation. Mean follow-up period was 3.2+/-1.9 years (range, 0.1 to 6.6). All recipients received triple immunosuppression consisting of a calcineurin inhibitor, an antiproliferative agent, and steroids. No patients received induction immunotherapy. The end points of the study were early and late mortality, rejection rate, and rejection-free survival time.


The overall mortality was 17.3% (91 patients). Recipient mortality rate according to donor race was: African American, 23.1%; Asian, 11.1%; Caucasian, 18.7%; and Hispanic, 14.6%. No statistical significance was found, although the mortality differences presented. Recipient mortality with regard to recipients ethnicity was: African American, 22.2%; Asian, 6.3%; Caucasian, 18%; Hispanic, 18.9%; and others 40% (P=.048). Donor-recipient race match was not found as a risk factor influencing mortality as the matched group mortality was 17.5% comparing with the mismatched group mortality of 17.8% (P=.874). The overall rejection rate was 3.8% (20 rejection events). Rejection rate according donor race was: African American, 7.7%; Asian, 10.7%; Caucasian, 4%; and Hispanic, 1.3% (P=.027). Rejection rate with respect to recipients ethnicity was: African American, 0; Asian, 3.2%; Caucasian, 4.4%; Hispanic, 2.7%; and others, 20% with no statistical significance (P=.236). Donor recipient race match was not found as a risk factor influencing rejection rate (P=.58).


Recipients' ethnicity was found as a significant risk factor for mortality. Rejection rate were found higher among the African American donors and significantly lower in the Hispanic donors. Significantly lower mortality rate was found among Asian recipients. Donor-recipient race match did not influence the mortality or rejection rate.

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