Posts Tagged ‘longest survivor with heart transplant’

Heart transplantation  as a treatment modality was conceptualized  by Christian Barnard in 1967 . Still considered as an  “Act of God” this  surgery is regularly performed worldwide by dedicated  transplant team consisting of cardiac surgeon , physician , Anesthetist , pathologist and others .Unlike other organs , heart transplant cannot have a “live donor” .Though  started  half a century ago, the real  pace has  picked up only in last 2 decades .Currently it is  “globally accepted  standard” intervention in terminal cardiac failure (Including pediatric heart conditions)

How are the survival rates ?


  • Now, many centers  are able to reach the  bench mark Stanford- statistical rates with a consistent  five  year survival rate crossing   75% .
  • The median survival rates is 10.5 years
  • One of the estimate indicate , If they cross first year, median survival reach 13.5 years
  • There has been many living survivors who have  crossed 30  years.

Looking at these numbers  , there is dramatic impact  in terms of global disease burden and the life gained.Statistically  speaking  successful treatment by heart transplant is equivalent to overwhelming  many  cancers in a human body !

Can these  results reproducible in all centers ?

These excellent outcome is  the reward to highly dedicated teams with  pioneering work culture . One should be cautious to start new transplant center without proper facility and expertise.Unregulated heart transplant  centers is vested with risk of pulling down the excellent  statistics of this unique form of human organ exchange.

Newer developments

Patient  selection criteria and  strategies to prevent rejection is being streamlined .The major  issue is availability of donor heart and how to optimize organ procurement and increase transport survival time .Transmedics has deviced a state of the art organ transport system . The other exciting thing expected to happen is potential (Ironical though !) heart donors from  even cardiac  /circulatory deaths . (Dhital KK, Iyer A, Connellan M Lancet. Adult heart transplantation with distant procurement and ex-vivo preservation of donor hearts after circulatory death: a case series.2015 Jun 27;385(9987)

What about artificial hearts ?

As of  now biological heart has definite edge over  artificial heart.Meanwhile rapid development of LV  assist  device and near total artificial  hearts may  end up with destination therapy rather than bridge to transplant. The “INTERMACS ” data are very promising and let us wait for the day artificial heart  can  score over the biological  ones.


1. The Registry of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation: Twenty-eighth Adult Heart Transplant Report–2011.Stehlik J1, Edwards LB, Kucheryavaya  J Heart Lung Transplant. 2011 Oct;30(10):1078-94.

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