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Rejected hearts now viable for transplantation after stress echo
Date:12/5/2012

Athens, Greece 5 December 2012: Hearts previously rejected due to donors' age or other risk factors can now be declared viable for transplantation using pharmacological stress echo, according to research presented at EUROECHO and other Imaging Modalities 2012. The study1 was presented by Dr Tonino Bombardini from Pisa, Italy.

EUROECHO and other Imaging Modalities 2012 is the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI)2, a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)3. It takes place 5-8 December in Athens, Greece, at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre.

Heart transplantation is an established procedure in patients with end-stage heart failure but it is limited by a severe donor organ shortage. The average age of organ donors has increased and the donor is frequently a patient who died of a stroke. Every year in Europe a pool of 4,500 hearts for which permission has been granted for heart donation are unused4. "Many of these hearts could be used if we could increase confidence that the transplantation would be successful," said Dr Bombardini, who is scientific coordinator of the Aged Donor Heart Rescue by Stress Echo (ADONHERS) Project.

"Currently, the use of hearts from donors = 50 years (of the total transplanted hearts) is just 21% in Europe and 12% in North America," he added. "But the lengthening of waiting lists for heart transplantation is a significant healthcare emergency and as a consequence, the criteria for acceptance of donor hearts have been expanded to include donors over the age of 55 years."5

Dr Bombardini continued: "Despite the expanded criteria, clinicians are hesitant to use hearts from older donors. The use of stress echocardiography to select hearts 'too good to die' may be a possible approach to resolving the mismatch between organ supply and demand."

During 2005 to 2012, the ADONHERS Project included 66 candidate heart donors
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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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