Use of height and a novel echocardiographic measurement to improve size-matching for pediatric heart transplantation

Warren A Zuckerman, Marc E Richmond, Rakesh K Singh, Jonathan M Chen, Linda J Addonizio
Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation 2012, 31 (8): 896-902

BACKGROUND: A major limitation of pediatric heart transplantation is scarcity of pediatric donor organs, leading to longer waiting times and higher waiting list mortality. Current practice is to match potential pediatric recipients with donors by weight; however, we hypothesize height to be a better predictor of heart size as estimated by left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (LVEDd), as well as a novel measurement from the superior vena cava-right atrium junction to inferior vena cava-right atrium junction (SVC-IVC distance). Our ultimate objective is to present a more effective means of size-matching for pediatric heart transplantation.

METHODS: Measurements of LVEDd and SVC-IVC distance were taken from 254 normal echocardiograms performed on individuals aged 7 days to 22 years, and correlated with demographic variables, including height, weight, and body surface area. Simulations were conducted using echocardiographic measurements and size parameters of past recipients with hypothetic donors to demonstrate practicality.

RESULTS: There was a linear relationship between height and SVC-IVC distance (R(2) = 0.904) and LVEDd (R(2) = 0.889), whereas the relationships with weight were logarithmic (SVC-IVC distance, R(2) = 0.855; LVEDd, R(2) = 0.880), and the relationships with body surface area were polynomial (SVC-IVC distance, R(2) = 0.880; LVEDd, R(2) = 0.884). Three simulations demonstrate improvements in efficiency of the size-matching process.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of height and a novel SVC-IVC distance measurement to evaluate heart size in potential pediatric heart transplant recipients and donors may allow for broadening of the donor pool and creation of a more efficient and accurate size-matching process. The prospective evaluation of these novel methods with respect to clinical outcomes is necessary.

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