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Determinants of survival following heart transplantation in adults with congenital heart disease.

BACKGROUND: Adult patients surviving with congenital heart disease (ACHD) is growing. We examine the factors associated with heart transplant outcomes in this challenging population with complex anatomy requiring redo-surgeries.

METHODS: We reviewed the United Network for Organ Sharing-Standard Transplant Analysis and Research database and analyzed 35,952 heart transplants from January 1st, 2000, to September 30th, 2018. We compared transplant characteristics for ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) (n = 14,236), nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM) (n = 20,676), and ACHD (n = 1040). Mean follow-up was 6.20 ± 4.84 years. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox-proportional hazards analysis were used to analyze survival data.

RESULTS: Multivariable analysis confirmed that ACHD was associated greater in-hospital death compared to ICM (HR = 0.54, P < 0.001) and NICM (HR = 0.46, P < 0.001). Notable factors associated with increased mortality were history of cerebrovascular disease (HR = 1.11, P = 0.026), prior history of malignancy (HR = 1.12, P = 0.006), pre-transplant biventricular support (HR = 1.12, P = 0.069), postoperative stroke (HR = 1.47, P < 0.001) and postoperative dialysis (HR = 1.71, P < 0.001). ACHD transplants had a longer donor heart ischemic time (P < 0.001) and trend towards more deaths from primary graft dysfunction (P = 0.07). In-hospital deaths were more likely with ACHD and use of mechanical support such as use of right ventricular assist device (HR = 2.20, P = 0.049), biventricular support (HR = 1.62, P < 0.001) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (HR = 2.36, P < 0.001). Conditional survival after censoring hospital deaths was significantly higher in ACHD (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Heart transplant in ACHD is associated with a higher post-operative mortality given anatomical complexity but a better long-term conditional survival. Normothermic donor heart perfusion may improve outcomes in the ACHD population by reducing the impact of longer ischemic times.

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