Increasing Heart Transplant Volume by Expansion of Donor Heart Selection Criteria: A Single-Center Analysis

Navin Rajagopalan, Alexis E. Shafii, Donna R. Dennis, Richard Charnigo, Michael E. Sekela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Our transplant center recently expanded the acceptance criteria for cardiac donors to increase heart transplant volume. Our purpose was to assess the success of this strategy while maintaining acceptable 1-year survival. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent heart transplantation at our institution from January 2011 through December 2017. This time period was divided into 2 periods: 2011 to 2014 (Period A) and 2015 to 2017 (Period B) because we implemented our new donor acceptance policy at the onset of 2015. We compared recipient and donor characteristics from the 2 time periods. The primary outcomes were 1-year graft and patient survival. Results: Transplant volume increased in Period B with the expanded donor acceptance policy: 128 heart transplants over 36 months compared to 52 transplants in 48 months in Period A. Mean (± SD) recipient age was significantly higher in Period B (54 ± 12 vs 50 ± 15 years; P = .04) whereas other recipient variables were similar. Donors in Period B were significantly older, more likely to be female, had larger body mass index, were located a greater distance from the transplant center, and had a higher sequence number. Female donor to male recipient occurred more often in Period B than in Period A (27% vs 10%; P = .01). Both 1-year patient survival and graft survival were unchanged between Period B (95% for both) and Period A (96% for both). Conclusions: Using a more aggressive donor acceptance policy allowed for an increase in heart transplant volume while maintaining acceptable 1-year graft and patient survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-953
Number of pages5
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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