Heart transplant outcomes in patients with mechanical circulatory support: cold storage versus normothermic perfusion organ preservation.
Patients with mechanical circulatory support bridged to a heart transplant (HTx) are at higher risk of postoperative graft dysfunction. In this subset, a mode of graft preservation that shortens graft ischaemia should be beneficial.The outcomes of 38 patients on mechanical circulatory support (extracorporeal life support, left ventricular assist device and biventricular assist device) who received a HTx between 2015 and 2020 were analysed according to the method of graft preservation: cold storage (CS) group, 24 (63%) or ex vivo perfusion (EVP) group, 14 (37%).The median age was 57 (range 30-73) vs 64 (35-75) years (P = 0.10); 88% were men (P = 0.28); extracorporeal life support was more frequent in the CS group (54% vs 36%; P = 0.27) versus left ventricular and biventricular assist devices in the EVP group (46% vs 64%; P = 0.27). Clamping time was shorter in the EVP group (P 4 h was higher in the CS group (P = 0.01). Thirty-day mortality was 13% (0-27%) in the CS group and 0% (P = 0.28) in the EVP group. A significantly lower primary graft failure [7% (0-23%) vs 42% (20-63%); P = 0.03] was observed in the EVP group. Survival at 1 year was 79 ± 8% (63-95%) in the CS group and 84 ± 10% (64-104%) in the EVP group (P = 0.95).Our results support the use of ex vivo graft perfusion in patients on mechanical circulatory support as a bridge to a HTx. This technique, by shortening graft ischaemic time, seems to improve post-HTx outcomes.