Bless the babies: One hundred fifteen late survivors of heart transplantation during the first year of life

L. L. Bailey, S. R. Gundry, A. J. Razzouk, N. Wang, C. M. Sciolaro, M. Chiavarelli, B. Branson, E. Zorn, W. Eby, M. Allard, Richard Lee Applegate, S. Brauer, C. Lau, R. Martin, L. Lebeck, S. Nehlsen-Cannarella, M. Boucek, M. Kanakriyeh, R. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


There is a rapid growth of interest in heart transplantation therapy during early infancy. From 10% to 25% of the infants who are listed for transplantation annually have died while awaiting a donor heart. There has been no significant trend in this variable. Since November 1985, 140 consecutive orthotopic transplantation procedures were performed in 139 infants who were from 3 hours to 12 months of age. Indications for transplantation included hypoplastic left heart syndrome (63%), other complex structural anomalies (29%), myopathy (6.5%), and tumors (1.5%). Most recipients had ductus-dependent circulation and received continuous infusion of prostaglandin E1. Heart donors were usually victims of trauma, sudden infant death, or birth asphyxia. A donor-recipient weight ratio of 4.0 or less was found to be acceptable. The amount of time the graft underwent cold ischemia, ranged from 64 to 576 minutes. The procurement process was facilitated by a single dose of cold crystalloid cardioplegic solution and cold immersion transport. Profound hypothermic circulatory arrest was used for graft implantation. One hundred twenty-four (89%) recipients survived transplantation and were discharged from the hospital. There were 9 late deaths, which resulted in an 83% overall survival. The 5-year actuarial survival is 80%. The survival among newborn recipients (n = 60) at 5 years is 84%. Chronic immunomodulation was cyclosporine-based and steroid-free. Surveillance was noninvasive and relied heavily on echocardiography, electrocardiography, and clinical intuition. There was one documented late lethal infection, tumor was not encountered, and coronary occlusive disease was known to exist in only one long-term survivor. We concluded that transplantation results in excellent life quality and is a highly effective and durable therapy when applied during early infancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-815
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Bless the babies: One hundred fifteen late survivors of heart transplantation during the first year of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this