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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1982 Feb;83(2):168-77.

Cardiac transplantation in perspective for the future. Survival, complications, rehabilitation, and cost.


Two hundred twenty-seven cardiac transplant procedures have been performed in 206 patients from January, 1968, to April, 1981. Postoperative survival rates, calculated by the actuarial method for program years 1968 to 1973 (66 patients), are 44%, 33%, 27%, 21%, and 18% at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years after transplantation, respectively. Postoperative survival rates for program years 1974 to 1981 (140 patients) are 63%, 55%, 51, 44%, and 39% at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years after transplantation, respectively. This increase results primarily from improvement in survival achieved in the first 3 postoperative months (59% +/- 7%, 1968 to 1973, versus 80% +/- 40%, 1974 to 1980), reflecting improved patient management. Infection remains the primary cause of death following transplantation (76/131 patients, 58%), followed by acute rejection (24/181, 18.3%), graft arteriosclerosis (14/131, 10.7%), and malignancy (6/131, 4.6%). The development of graft arteriosclerosis has been examined in 85 one-year survivors studied by annual coronary arteriograms. Coronary lesions of varying severity have developed in 21 patients. HLA-A2 incompatibility was associated with a higher incidence of graft arteriosclerosis than was apparent for all other A locus incompatibilities (p less than 0.0003). Lymphoma has been shown to be associated with younger recipient age, a primary disease diagnosis of idiopathic cardiomyopathy, and retransplantation. One hundred six patients have survived at least 1 year after transplantation; 97% were in NYHA Class 1 at that time interval and 82% returned to employment or activity of choice. The longest survival time is new 11 years, 3 months. Cardiac transplantation can be considered "reasonable and therapeutic treatment to extend life" in selected individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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