Outcomes and survival following heart retransplantation for cardiac allograft failure: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Background: Long-term efficacy of heart retransplantation (RTx) for end-stage cardiac allograft failure remains unclear given the limited worldwide experience and is an important question to elucidate given the shortage of donor organs. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the outcomes of RTx in patients with cardiac allograft failure.
Methods: Electronic search was performed to identify all studies in the English literature assessing RTx for cardiac allograft failure. All identified articles were systematically assessed for inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Results: Eleven studies were included for analysis, with a total of 7,791 patients. A total of 7,446 patients underwent primary heart transplantation (HTx) whereas 345 patients underwent RTx with average time from primary HTx to RTx interval of 5.03 years (95% CI: 3.13–6.94 years). There were 35.2% of patients received RTx within 30 days of primary transplant. Early mortality was significantly higher among RTx patients (RTx 28.2% vs. HTx 11.2%, P<0.001) whereas survival was significantly higher among HTx patients when compared to RTx patients at 1 year (HTx 81.8% vs. RTx 59.1%, P<0.001), 2 years (HTx 77.9% vs. RTx 53.6%, P<0.001), 3 years (HTx 76.1% vs. RTx 49.8%, P<0.001), 5 years (HTx 68.8% vs. RTx 41.4%, P<0.001) and 10 years (HTx 53.9% vs. RTx 31.7%, P<0.001). There were no significant differences between HTx and RTx in terms of freedom from rejection at 1 year (HTx 61.0% vs. RTx 53.7%, P=0.43), 2 years (HTx 63.8% vs. RTx 53.7%, P=0.26), 3 years (HTx 62.9% vs. RTx 51.9%, P=0.30) and 5 years (HTx 61.0% vs. RTx 51.9%, P=0.36).
Conclusions: Patients who underwent heart RTx had a significant lower survival when compared to those who only underwent primary HTx. There were no significant differences in post-transplantation freedom from rejection. Careful patient selection and perioperative care can make heart RTx a viable option for selected recipients.