Long-term survival after pediatric cardiac transplantation and postoperative ECMO support

Kathleen N. Fenton, Steven A. Webber, David A. Danford, Sanjiv K. Gandhi, Jayson Periera, Frank A. Pigula, Vincent K.H. Tam, Michael H. Hines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background. Graft failure after cardiac transplantation in children can be managed acutely with mechanical support, most commonly extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The purpose of this study was to evaluation the long-term outcome of ECMO support early and late after pediatric cardiac transplantation. Methods. From February 1982 through October 2002, 168 patients underwent isolated cardiac transplantation. Twenty patients (11.9%) required mechanical support early or late after transplantation. Inpatient and outpatient records of these were reviewed. Results. Indication for transplantation was complex congenital heart disease in 12, cardiomyopathy in 7, and graft failure (retransplant) in 1. One patient was also on ECMO preoperatively. Fifteen patients required circulatory support immediately or shortly (less than 6 weeks) after transplantation. The remaining 5 patients were placed on ECMO for ventricular dysfunction late (3 months to 7 years) after transplantation. In the perioperative ECMO group, 8 (53%) were successfully decannulated and subsequently discharged. Three of 5 (60%) patients placed on ECMO late were successfully decannulated, 1 of whom died in hospital 10 days later and 2 of whom are still alive. Conclusions. Mechanical circulatory support using ECMO can be a useful strategy is the management of graft dysfunction after pediatric cardiac transplantation both early and late postoperatively. The mortality rate is acceptable in this very high risk group of patients and long-term outcome is good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-847
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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