Surgical and nonsurgical complications of a pig to baboon heterotopic heart transplantation model

P. C. Corcoran, K. A. Horvath, A. K. Singh, R. F. Hoyt, M. L. Thomas, M. A. Eckhaus, M. M. Mohiuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A modified immunosuppressive regimen, developed at the National Institutes of Health, has been employed in a large animal model of heterotopic cardiac xenotransplantation. Graft survival has been prolonged, but despite this, our recipients have succumbed to various surgical or nonsurgical complications. Herein, we have described different complications and management strategies. The most common complication was hypercoagulability (HC) after transplantation, causing thrombosis of both small and large vasculature, ultimately leading to graft loss. While managing this complication we discovered that there was a delicate balance between HC and consumptive coagulopathy (CC). CC encountered in some recipient baboons was not able to be reversed by stopping anticoagulation and administering multiple blood transfusions. Some complications had iatrogenic components. To monitor the animals, a solid state left ventricular telemetry probe was placed directly into the transplanted heart via the apex. Induction of hypocoagulable states by continuous heparin infusion led to uncontrollable intra-abdominal bleeding in 1 baboon from this apical site. This occurrence necessitated securing the probe more tightly with multiple purse strings and 4-quadrant pledgeted stay sutures. One instance of cardiac rupture originated from a lateral wall infarction site. Earlier studies have shown infections to be uniformly fatal in this transplant model. However, owing to the telemetry placement, infections were identified early by temperature spikes that were treated promptly with antibiotics. We had several cases of wound dehiscence due to recipients disrupting the suture line. These complications were promptly resolved by either re-approximating the wound or finding distractions for the baboon. A few of the most common problems we faced in our earlier experiments were related to the jacket, tether, and infusion pumps. It was difficult to keep the jackets on some baboons and the tether had to be modified several times before we assured long-term success. Infusion catheter replacement resulted in transplant heart venous obstruction and thrombosis from a right common femoral venous line. Homeostatic perturbations such as HC and CC and baboon-induced wound complications comprised most complications. Major bleeding and death due to telemetry implantation and infarct rupture occurred in 2 baboons. Despite the variety of complications, we achieved significant graft prolongation in this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2149-2151
Number of pages3
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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