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Clin Transplant. 1994 Feb;8(1):59-66.

Monitoring of the cellular immune system in patients with biventricular assist devices awaiting cardiac transplantation.

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German Heart Institute, Department of Thoracic, Berlin.


Lack of objective parameters to predict the clinical course and outcome are a major problem in managing the patients selected for BVAD-support as a bridge to heart transplantation. This study was intended to assess whether cellular immune parameters have a predictive value for the clinical result of VAD-support. Various cellular immune markers were monitored by multiparameter cytofluorometry in 30 patients who received a VAD system (Berlin Heart). We did not find significant differences in preoperative values of immune parameters between groups of survivors (n = 14) and non-survivors (n = 16). All 9 patients who died of septic multiple organ failure (MOF) had shown increased levels of T-cell activation (CD 71, CD 25, HLA-DR) as well as leukocytosis and 7 patients who died of noninfectious complications (mostly hemorrhage or cerebral complications) had exhibited T-lymphopenia. Seven of 9 patients who died of septic MOF had extremely decreased levels of HLA-DR+ monocytes (< 30%) while all 14 survivors and all 7 patients who died of noninfectious complications showed almost normal monocytic HLA-DR antigen expression, antigen-presenting capacity and cytokine secretion. These observations point to the reduced antimicrobial immunity ("immunoparalysis") in the non-survivors and may explain the fatal course of infection in these individuals. The in vitro results of restitution experiments call for new therapeutic strategies to improve the survival of VAD-patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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