Blood transfusions decrease the incidence of acute rejection in cardiac allograft recipients.
BACKGROUND: Cardiac transplant recipients frequently receive a large number of transfusions. The objective of this study was to determine whether there is an association between total number of blood transfusions and cardiac allograft rejection. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of all cardiac transplants between October 1, 1997, and December 31, 2001, was performed. Total number of transfusions, total number of rejection episodes Grade 3A or more, rejection-free survival, and overall survival were analyzed. Comparisons between patients bridged to transplantation with a Novacor left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and the primary transplant group were also made. RESULTS: Eighty-two patients were transplanted. Fifteen were bridged to transplantation, and 67 underwent primary heart transplantation. Age and sex were similar for the LVAD group and the primary transplant group (45 +/- 11 vs 47 +/- 15 years and 67% vs 58% male sex, respectively). Mean follow-up was 658 +/- 486 days for the LVAD group and 708 +/- 548 days for the primary transplant group. Transfusions received were 50 +/- 34 U of packed red blood cells for the LVAD group and 7 +/- 12 for the primary transplant group (p < 0.001). There were no differences in donor characteristics between the 2 groups. The incidence of acute rejection within 1 year was 27% for the LVAD group and 39% for the primary transplant group (p = .28). Freedom from rejection was 71% at 1 year in the LVAD group compared with 59% for the primary transplant group (p = 0.39). In all 82 patients, the total number of transfusions was inversely correlated with the development of acute rejection (p = 0.011). Survival was 80% and 62% for the LVAD group at 1 and 3 years after transplantation and 88% and 85%, respectively, for the primary transplant group (p = 0.045). CONCLUSIONS: The number of blood transfusions received by heart transplant recipients is inversely related with the number of acute rejection episodes.
Fernández, FG; Jaramillo, A; Ewald, G; Rogers, J; Pasque, MK; Mohanakumar, T; Moazami, N
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