Characterizing Predictors and Severity of Vasoplegia Syndrome After Heart Transplantation

Joshua L. Chan, Jon A. Kobashigawa, Tamar L. Aintablian, Sadia J. Dimbil, Paul Perry, Jignesh K. Patel, Michelle M. Kittleson, Lawrence S. Czer, Parham Zarrini, Angela Velleca, Jenna Rush, Francisco A. Arabia, Alfredo Trento, Fardad Esmailian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Vasoplegia is characterized as a severe vasodilatory shock after cardiac surgery, and can be associated with substantial morbidity. Increased systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, often related to prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass times, anesthesia, or mechanical circulatory support have been shown to be associated with the development of vasoplegia. We sought to identify risk factors and the impact of various degrees of vasoplegia after heart transplantation. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of 244 consecutive patients who underwent heart transplantation over a 3-year period. Patients were divided into three groups: no vasoplegia, mild vasoplegia (requiring one vasopressor), and moderate/severe vasoplegia (more than two vasopressors). One-year survival, freedom from rejection, and postoperative complication rates were assessed. Risk factors for vasoplegia subgroups were retrospectively identified. Results: Vasoplegia syndrome was observed in 34.3% of patients after heart transplantation (mild, 74.1%; moderate/severe, 25.9%). Cardiopulmonary bypass time was significantly longer and pretransplant creatinine was significantly higher in the moderate/severe vasoplegia group. There was a strong trend toward greater use of mechanical circulatory support among moderate/severe vasoplegia patients compared with mild and no vasoplegia patients. After heart transplantation, 1-year survival, freedom from rejection, and need for hemodialysis were not significantly different between groups. Conclusions: Vasoplegia syndrome is common after heart transplantation. Risk factors for increased severity include longer cardiopulmonary bypass times and elevated preoperative creatinine. Although higher rates of mortality or graft rejection were not detected, vasoplegia was associated with prolonged intubation, greater blood product usage, and lengthened hospital stay. Further studies involving larger cohorts are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-777
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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