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Korean J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Dec;46(6):426-32. doi: 10.5090/kjtcs.2013.46.6.426. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

Early postoperative complications after heart transplantation in adult recipients: asan medical center experience.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Korea.



Heart transplantation has become a widely accepted surgical option for end-stage heart failure in Korea since its first success in 1992. We reviewed early postoperative complications and mortality in 239 patients who underwent heart transplantation using bicaval technique in Asan Medical Center.


Between January 1999 and December 2011, a total of 247 patients aged over 17 received heart transplantation using bicaval technique in Asan Medical Center. After excluding four patients with concomitant kidney transplantation and four with heart-lung transplantation, 239 patients were enrolled in this study. We evaluated their early postoperative complications and mortality. Postoperative complications included primary graft failure, cerebrovascular accident, mediastinal bleeding, renal failure, low cardiac output syndrome requiring intra-aortic balloon pump or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation insertion, pericardial effusion, and inguinal lymphocele. Follow-up was 100% complete with a mean follow-up duration of 58.4±43.6 months.


Early death occurred in three patients (1.3%). The most common complications were pericardial effusion (61.5%) followed by arrhythmia (41.8%) and mediastinal bleeding (8.4%). Among the patients complicated with pericardial effusion, only 13 (5.4%) required window operation. The incidence of other significant complications was less than 5%: stroke (1.3%), low cardiac output syndrome (2.5%), renal failure requiring renal replacement (3.8%), sternal wound infection (2.0%), and inguinal lymphocele (4.6%). Most of complications did not result in the extended length of hospital stay except mediastinal bleeding (p=0.034).


Heart transplantation is a widely accepted option of surgical treatment for end-stage heart failure with good early outcomes and relatively low catastrophic complications.


Complication; Heart transplantation; Mortality

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