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Am J Transplant. 2018 Sep;18(9):2163-2174. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14691. Epub 2018 Mar 24.

Incidence, characterization, and impact of newly detected donor-specific anti-HLA antibody in the first year after pediatric heart transplantation: A report from the CTOTC-04 study.

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Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
Rho Inc., Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
St Louis Children's Hospital, St Louis, MO, USA.
Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Montefiore Children's Hospital, New York, NY, USA.
Children's Hospital of New York, New York, NY , USA.
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Data on the clinical importance of newly detected donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (ndDSAs) after pediatric heart transplantation are lacking despite mounting evidence of the detrimental effect of de novo DSAs in solid organ transplantation. We prospectively tested 237 pediatric heart transplant recipients for ndDSAs in the first year posttransplantation to determine their incidence, pattern, and clinical impact. One-third of patients developed ndDSAs; when present, these were mostly detected within the first 6 weeks after transplantation, suggesting that memory responses may predominate over true de novo DSA production in this population. In the absence of preexisting DSAs, patients with ndDSAs had significantly more acute cellular rejection but not antibody-mediated rejection, and there was no impact on graft and patient survival in the first year posttransplantation. Risk factors for ndDSAs included common sensitizing events. Given the early detection of the antibody response, memory responses may be more important in the first year after pediatric heart transplantation and patients with a history of a sensitizing event may be at risk even with a negative pretransplantation antibody screen. The impact on late graft and patient outcomes of first-year ndDSAs is being assessed in an extended cohort of patients.


clinical research/practice; heart transplantation/cardiology; monitoring: immune; patient survival; pediatrics; rejection: acute; rejection: antibody-mediated (ABMR); sensitization

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