Heart transplantation in patients with diabetic end-organ damage before transplantation

Ivan Aleksic, L. S.C. Czer, D. Freimark, H. Dalichau, J. J.M. Takkenberg, C. Blanche, S. Nessim, P. Nusser, A. Trento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diabetes mellitus with preexisting end-organ damage (EOD) is considered a contraindication for heart transplantation. The outcome of such patients has not been well characterized. Among 138 patients transplanted between 12/88 and 7/94, 29 were diabetic (11 insulin-dependent); of these, 12 had preexisting EOD, defined as a creatinine clearance ≤ 50 ml/min, a 24-hour urine protein concentration ≤ 500 mg/L or typical symptoms of peripheral or autonomic polyneuropathy, and 17 had no EOD. We compared diabetics with and without EOD and nondiabetics (n = 109) for operative mortality, length of stay, serum creatinine, fasting glucose levels, and postoperative prednisone doses at 1, 6, and 12 months. Actuarial survival and freedom from rejection and infection were analyzed. Both diabetic groups were significantly older than nondiabetics. Ischemic time, operative mortality, surgical technique, ICU- and total length of stay were similar. Actuarial survival and freedom from rejection were similar among the three groups. Infection rates including CMV did not differ. Serum creatinine levels increased in all groups compared to pretransplant levels (p = 0.001), but without significant differences among the groups. Post-transplant glucose levels at 6 and 12 months were higher for diabetic patients with EOD than for those without or for nondiabetics (183, 153, and 94 mg/dl at 6 months, p = 0.01; 202, 161, and 102 mg/dl at 12 months, p = 0.0001). Prednisone dosage was lower in diabetics with EOD at 6 months, but did not differ among the three groups at 12 months. The incidence of angiographically proven transplant vasculopathy did not differ at 1 and 2 years. Diabetics with preexisting EOD undergoing heart transplantation experience similar short- and intermediate-term results when compared to diabetics without EOD and nondiabetics. Metabolic control is more difficult to achieve, as indicated by higher fasting glucose levels. Larger and longer-term prospective studies have to confirm our findings, since the shortage of donor organs would increase if such patients were transplanted routinely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalThoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • diabetes mellitus
  • end-organ damage
  • heart transplantation


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