Background. Cardiac retransplantation (re-CTx) in children is a controversial therapy, yet it remains the best treatment option to recipients with failing grafts. Our objective was to determine the incidence of re-CTx in a large pediatric population of recipients and evaluate the outcome of such therapy. Methods. Between November 1985 and November 1999, 347 children underwent cardiac transplantation at the Loma Linda University Medical Center. Of these, 32 children were listed for re-CTx. Ten patients died while waiting, and 22 recipients underwent re-CTx. Median age at re-CTx was 7.1 years (range, 52 days to 20.1 years). Results. Indications for re-CTx were allograft vasculopathy (n = 16), primary graft failure (n = 5), and acute rejection (n = 1). Two patients with primary graft failure underwent retransplantation within 24 hours of the first transplantation procedure while on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. Median time interval to re-CTx for the others was 7.2 years (range, 32 days to 9.4 years). Operative mortality for all cardiac re-CTx procedures was 13.6%. Causes of hospital mortality were pulmonary hypertension with graft failure (n = 2) and multiorgan failure (n = 1). Median hospital stay after re-CTx was 14.1 days (range, 6 to 45 days). There was one late death from severe rejection. Actuarial survival at 3 years for re-CTx was 81.9% ± 8.9% compared with 77.3% ± 2.6% for primary cardiac transplantation recipients (p = 0.70). Conclusions. Elective re-CTx can be performed with acceptable mortality. Although the number of patients undergoing retransplantation in this report is small and their long-term outcome is unknown, the intermediate-term survival after re-CTx is similar to that of children undergoing primary cardiac transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine