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Researchers develop new way to predict heart transplant survival
Date:9/2/2011

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have developed a formula to predict which heart transplant patients are at greatest risk of death in the year following their surgeries, information that could help medical teams figure out who would benefit most from the small number of available organs.

"Donor hearts are a limited resource," says John V. Conte, M.D., a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study. "Now, we have a simple-to-use tool that is highly predictive of survival after a heart transplant, and can help guide organ allocation decisions."

Conte and his colleagues, writing in the September issue of Annals of Thoracic Surgery, pulled together a series of risk factors already associated with poor outcomes, such as age, race, gender, the cause of a patient's heart failure and whether he or she was on dialysis, and then assigned a number of points to each factor. The sum of those points created a score. The higher the score, the higher the risk of death one year after transplant.

Some factors were weighted more heavily than others, such as female gender (three points); African-American race (three points), and the need for dialysis in the time between being put on the transplant waiting list and getting a transplant (five points).

Patients with the lowest scores between zero and two had a 92.5 percent chance of being alive 12 months after surgery.

Patients with so-called IMPACT scores the acronym the researchers came up with for the Index for Mortality Prediction After Cardiac Transplantation above 20 points had a less than 50 percent chance of survival one year after surgery. Every point on the scale increased the chance of death within one year by 14 percent.

To develop and test the validity of IMPACT, Conte and his team analyzed data provided by the United Network of Organ Sharing comprising information from all heart transplants
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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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