Background: Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) as a bridge (BTT) to heart transplantation (HTX) may be limited by the formation of anti-human leukocyte antigen antibodies. Whether sensitization occurs with continuous axial flow LVAD implant as assessed by single antigen bead (SAB) assay is unknown. Methods: Cytotoxic panel-reactive antibody (PRA) and SAB assays were analyzed in HTX recipients undergoing LVAD implant as a BTT. Sensitization was defined as peak anti-human leukocyte antigen antibody values of more than 2000 mean fluorescence intensity because these values have been found to correlate with flow cytometric crossmatch results. Results: LVADs were implanted as BTT in 30 patients. There were 7% (2 of 30) of patients before LVAD implant and no patients after LVAD implant with PRA more than 10%. However, 20% (6 of 30) of patients before LVAD and 53% (16 of 30) after LVAD were sensitized as measured by SAB (P=0.024). At HTX, 47% (14 of 30) of patients remained sensitized. A positive virtual crossmatch was observed in 28% (4 of 14) of the sensitized patients at HTX. There was no difference between the sensitized and nonsensitized groups (P>0.4 for all) in usage of blood products (6411 vs. 6339 units) and time to HTX (28,663 vs. 25,748 days), and 1 year after HTX, there were no differences in rejection (total rejection score 0.30 vs. 0.37) and survival (93% vs. 88%). Conclusion: Allosensitization after LVAD is common despite cytotoxic PRA being negative. One year after HTX, this sensitization does not translate into increased acute cellular or antibody-mediated rejection or reduced survival.
- Heart transplant
- Left ventricular assist device
- Single antigen bead assay
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