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Left ventricular dysfunction in potential heart donors and its influence on recipient outcomes

Journal article
Authors Jonatan Oras
Rana Doueh
Erik Norberg
Björn Redfors
Elmir Omerovic
Göran Dellgren
Published in Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
ISSN 0022-5223
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive care
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Keywords heart donation, heart failure, heart transplantation, left ventricular dysfunction, Takotsubo syndrome
Subject categories Transplantation surgery, Cardiovascular medicine


© 2019 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery Objectives: New onset of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction in organ donors is frequent and considered as a contraindication for utilization of the heart. However, such dysfunction might be caused by sympathetic stress and could be transient (Takotsubo syndrome). In this study, we assessed the incidence, pattern, and predictors of LV dysfunction in potential heart donors and evaluated its influence on recipient outcomes. Methods: Donor records of consecutive organ donors in western Sweden between 2006 and 2016 were reviewed. Recipients of transplanted donor hearts were identified in the Scandiatransplant database. Results: Of 641 potential heart donors who underwent echocardiographic assessment, LV dysfunction (ejection fraction <50% and/or regional hypokinesia) was found in 155 donors (24%). Regional hypokinesia was seen in 113 donors of whom 46 had a Takotsubo-like circumferential hypokinetic pattern. Independent donor variables associated with LV dysfunction were a younger age, cardiac arrest as a contributing factor to death, need for inotropic support, and a shorter time from admission to declaration of brain death. A total of 338 (54%) donor hearts were transplanted, of which 45 (14%) had LV dysfunction. LV dysfunction was a major determinant of not transplanting the heart (P < .001). After transplantation, LV function normalized in the recipients. Neither short-term outcomes nor the composite end point of death or retransplantation over time differed between recipients of donor hearts with versus without LV dysfunction (P = .587). Conclusions: LV dysfunction is common among potential heart donors. These hearts were safely transplanted in this study. The use of these hearts might significantly increase transplantation rates.

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