Objective: Heart and lung transplantation has gained acceptance as therapy for end-stage cardiac and pulmonary failure. The early and intermediate survival benefits of one center's 10-year experience with 177 patients undergoing thoracic transplantation were examined. Summary Background Data: As experience in cardiac and pulmonary transplantation has increased, improvements in patient selection, organ preservation, preoperative support, and perioperative care have significantly reduced the early threats to patient survival. Graft dysfunction due to chronic rejection appears to be the main risk for longer-term survival, and data compiled by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) indicate a 70% 5-year survival for heart transplants and a 50% 5-year survival for lung transplant recipients. Methods: The medical records of 120 heart recipients, 52 lung transplant recipients, and 5 heart-lung recipients were reviewed. Cumulative survival estimates were made using Kaplan-Meier analysis. The etiologies of operative and long-term mortality in each transplant population were identified. A comparison of long term survival after heart transplantation versus coronary revascularization in a group of patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy was performed. Results: Operative mortality in both the cardiac and pulmonary transplant recipients was 8%. From 1990 to 1995, 70 consecutive adult cardiac transplant procedures were performed without an operative mortality. Three of five patients survived heart-lung transplantation. The extended actuarial survival rate at 5 years was 80% for the cardiac transplant recipients. The 2-year actuarial survival rate for the lung transplant recipients was 88%. Graft dysfunction was the most common cause of operative mortality in the heart transplant group whereas infection was responsible for most of the operative mortality after lung transplantation. Conclusions: Cardiac and pulmonary transplantation can be applied to morbidly ill patients with excellent operative and intermediate-term survival.
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