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Ann Surg. 1988 Sep;208(3):279-86.

Orthotopic transplantation during early infancy as therapy for incurable congenital heart disease.

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Department of Surgery, Loma Linda University Medical Center, CA 92354-0200.


Since November 1985, 14 neonates and young infants have undergone orthotopic heart transplantation at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) as therapy for hypoplastic aortic tract complex. Eleven (78%) survived surgery and are living and well today. Three perioperative deaths resulted: one due to perforated peptic ulcer, one due to necrotizing pneumonitis, and one due to graft failure unrelated to rejection. No late deaths occurred in the 1-29 months of follow-up, during which time noninvasive surveillance techniques were used. Immunosuppression was accomplished using cyclosporine and azathioprine. Steroids and antithymocyte globulin were used for identified rejection episodes only. Ordinary childhood infections were tolerated well. All survivors were normotensive. There was no late renal dysfunction. Although inadequate donor resources remain a significant limiting factor for transplantation therapy during early life, these results suggest that cardiac transplantation is effective therapy for selected neonates and young infants with incurable congenital heart disease.

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