Improved long-term outcomes after heart transplantation utilizing donors with a traumatic mode of brain death

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Background: The donor's mode of brain death (BD), being associated with impairment of myocardial function and hemodynamic performance, impacts the prognosis of the heart transplantation (HTx) recipient. Methods: All patients who underwent HTx between 1996 and 2017 were categorized according to donor's BD mechanism: traumatic BD (TBD) versus non-traumatic BD (NTBD). Results: The TBD group included 105 recipients, and the NTBD group, 85 recipients. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that overall survival was significantly higher for recipients of TBD hearts (10-year survival 58.1 vs. 37.6%, p = 0.044). Consistently, multivariate analysis showed that TBD was independently associated with a significant 43% reduction in mortality [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.42-0.75, p = 0.033]. Rejection rate was lower in the TBD group (total rejection score 0.44 ± 0.32 vs. 0.51 ± 0.38, p = 0.04; any rejection score 0.38 ± 0.26 vs. 0.45 ± 0.31, p = 0.030), and freedom from cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) was significantly higher in recipients of traumatic vs. non-traumatic donors (10 years: 82.9 vs. 62.4%, log-rank p-value = 0.024). Multivariate analysis showed a significant 42% reduction in CAV [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.58, 95% CI 0.51-0.85, p = 0.022). Conclusion: Mode of brain death significantly impacts HTx outcomes, with TBD being associated with reduced mortality, rejections and CAV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Jul 2019


  • Donor
  • Heart transplantation
  • Mode of brain death
  • Recipient


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