DCD donations and outcomes of heart transplantation: the Australian experience.

Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Indian journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, 2020, 36, (Suppl 2), pp. 224-232
Issue Date:
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Purpose:There is increasing clinical utilization of hearts from the donation after circulatory death (DCD) pathway with the aim of expanding the donor pool and mitigating the ever-present discrepancy between the inadequate availability of good quality donor hearts and the rising number of patients with end-stage heart failure. Methods:This article reviews the rationale, practice, logistical factors, and 5-year experience of DCD heart transplantation at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. Findings:Between July 2014 and July 2019, 69 DCD donor retrievals were undertaken resulting in 49 hearts being instrumented on an ex situ normothermic cardiac perfusion device. Seventeen (35%) of these hearts were declined and the remaining 32 (65%) were used for orthotopic DCD heart transplantation. At 5 years of follow-up, the 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival was 96%, 94%, and 94% for DCD hearts compared with 89%, 83%, and 82% respectively for donation after brain death (DBD) hearts (n.s). The immediate post-implant requirement for temporary extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support for delayed graft function was 31% with no difference in rejection rates when compared with the contemporaneous cohort of patients transplanted with standard criteria DBD hearts. Summary:DCD heart transplantation has become routine and incorporated into standard clinical practice by a handful of pioneering clinical transplant centres. The Australian experience demonstrates that excellent medium-term outcomes are achievable from the use of DCD hearts. These outcomes are consistent across the other centres and consequently favour a more rapid and wider uptake of heart transplantation using DCD donor hearts, which would otherwise be discarded.
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