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Long term results of heart transplantation in patients with amyloid heart disease


OBJECTIVE To determine the outcome of heart transplantation for end stage amyloid heart disease in patients treated at a single centre.

DESIGN Records of all patients with amyloid heart disease who underwent heart transplantation were examined to determine survival, graft involvement by amyloid, the course of systemic amyloid disease, and the cause of death.

PATIENTS 10 patients, mean (SD) age 54 (8) years, received transplants in the 13 year period 1984 to 1997.

RESULTS Two patients, both with AL amyloid (primary systemic amyloidosis), died perioperatively. Mean follow up in the remaining eight patients was 49.9 (39.5) months (range 3–116 months). Amyloid deposits in the grafts became evident histologically in five patients with AL amyloid at 5, 11, 12, 28, and 30 months after transplantation, and in one patient with familial amyloid at 60 months. Echocardiography showed no evidence of left ventricular systolic impairment at the time of recurrence. Seven patients died, at 3, 11, 26, 32, 49, 85, and 116 months after transplantation; four of these deaths were related to amyloidosis. Actuarial survival at one and two years was 60% and at five years, 30%.

CONCLUSIONS Heart transplantation for amyloid heart disease remains controversial because of the scarcity of hearts for transplantation, the systemic nature of amyloidosis, and the potential for amyloid deposition in the graft. Postoperative mortality was high (20%), reflecting extracardiac amyloid. Heart transplantation for end stage cardiac amyloidosis is feasible but, without treatment of the underlying process, it is a palliative procedure.

  • heart transplantation
  • amyloid heart disease
  • heart failure

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