Outcomes after heart transplantation in sensitized patients bridged with ventricular assist devices

Charles D. Fraser, Xun Zhou, J. Trent Magruder, Alejandro Suarez-Pierre, Cecillia Lui, Joshua C. Grimm, Robert Higgins, Ahmet Kilic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Sensitization has been associated with worse outcomes following heart transplantation (HTx). The use of ventricular assist devices (VAD) is a risk factor for the development of sensitization. We investigated the impact of left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) and sensitization in HTx recipients. Methods: We queried the UNOS database for all heart transplants performed from January 2000 through December 2016. Patients were considered highly sensitized and included if panel-reactive antibody (PRA) activity was 25% or higher. Patients were separated by pretransplant LVAD utilization and subgroup analysis was performed by device type (HeartMate II or HeartWare). Outcomes included Kaplan-Meier survival and episodes of rejection within 1 year of HTx. Results: Of 18 009 recipients, 2434 (14%) were highly sensitized. 1055 (43.3%) were bridged with a VAD. In multivariate analysis, LVAD use did not impact 1-year (hazards ratio [HR], 1.30; P = 0.052) or 5-year survival (HR, 1.18; P = 0.112) in highly sensitized recipients. Furthermore, episodes of rejection were not affected by LVAD status (P = 0.765). Of the 1055 sensitized LVAD-bridged transplant recipients, 624 (59%) were implanted with a HeartMate II and 99 (9.4%) were bridged with a HeartWare device. In multivariate analysis, no differences were observed in 1-year survival (HR, 0.86; P = 0.664), 5-year survival (HR, 1.35; P = 0.209), or episodes of rejection (P = 0.497). Conclusions: The use of ventricular assist devices did not impact survival or rejection within 1 year of HTx in highly sensitized patients. Highly sensitized recipients have similar outcomes regardless of prior LVAD support or type of LVAD used as a bridge to transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiac Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • heart transplantation
  • panel-reactive antibody
  • sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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