Heart Transplantation from COVID-19–Positive Donors: A Word of Caution

Alejandra Castro-Varela, Carlos Gallego-Navarro, Eric Bhaimia, Aanchal Gupta, Philip J. Spencer, Richard C. Daly, Alfredo L. Clavell, Gustavo L. Knop, Joseph J. Maleszewski, Mauricio A. Villavicencio, Nathan W. Cummins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to maintain solid-organ transplantation have continued, including the use of SARS-CoV-2–positive heart donors. Methods: We present our institution's initial experience with SARS-CoV-2–positive heart donors. All donors met our institution's Transplant Center criteria, including a negative bronchoalveolar lavage polymerase chain reaction result. All but 1 patient received postexposure prophylaxis with anti-spike monoclonal antibody therapy, remdesivir, or both. Results: A total of 6 patients received a heart transplant from a SARS-CoV-2–positive donor. One heart transplant was complicated by catastrophic secondary graft dysfunction requiring venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and retransplant. The remaining 5 patients did well postoperatively and were discharged from the hospital. None of the patients had evidence of COVID-19 infection after surgery. Conclusion: Heart transplants from SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction–positive donors are feasible and safe with adequate screening and postexposure prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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