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Blood-incompatible infant heart transplants safe, may save more lives
Date:11/5/2007

ORLANDO, Nov. 5 ABO-incompatible heart transplantation (heart transplantation among non-compatible blood groups) can be safely performed in infants a year old or younger, researchers reported at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2007.

The analysis, based on national data reported to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), found that transplanting infant hearts across incompatible blood group is as safe as transplantation with compatible blood group types.

There was no difference in outcome between incompatible and compatible transplantation in these infants, said Luca A. Vricella, M.D., senior author of the study. Survival between the two groups was similar at three years. Nishant Patel, B.A., third-year medical student, presented the study findings at the associations annual conference.

ABO-incompatible heart transplantation can be performed safely in infants with a low incidence of hyperacute rejection, Patel said. ABO-incompatible heart transplantation should be considered in infants to maximize donor organ utilization and reduce mortality among infants.

Vricella said the impact of using incompatible donor hearts could significantly reduce the number of infants who die while on the waiting list to receive donor hearts.

Mortality could be reduced by at least 20 percent by using incompatible donors, said Vricella, chief of pediatric heart transplantation at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Md. There would be a huge impact on infants who otherwise have to rely on a very small donor pool.

Up to 40 percent of infants die while waiting for a donor heart. The average wait on the list exceeds two months.

The whole concept of transplanting infants across blood barriers comes from the necessity to reduce waiting time on the list, Vricella said.

The study examined data on infant heart transplant recipients reported to UNOS from 1999 to 2007. Of the 591 infants who underwent transplantation,
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Contact: Karen Astle
karen.astle@heart.org
214-706-1392
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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