Predictive Risk Factors For Primary Graft Failure Requiring Temporary Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation Support After Cardiac Transplantation In Adults

Primary graft failure (PGF) is a major risk factor for death after heart transplantation. We investigated the predictive risk factors for severe PGF that require extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) circulatory support after cardiac transplantation.

Between January 2003 and December 2008, 402 adult patients underwent isolated cardiac transplantation at our institution. PGF was defined as the need for ECMO support in the immediate postoperative period. Thirty-three recipient and 37 donor variables were analyzed for the risk of PGF occurrence. Results: PGF occurred in 91 (23%) patients. Predictive risk factors for PGF occurrence were, in the recipient, being aged >60 years (odds ratio (OR) 2.11, p = 0.01) and preoperative mechanical circulatory support (MCS) (OR 2.65, p = 0.01); in the donor, they were mean norepinephrine dose (OR 2.02, p < 0.01), trauma as the cause of death (OR 2.45, p < 0.01), left-ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF) <55% (OR 2.72, p = 0.02), and the ischemic time (OR 1.01, p < 0.01). Weaning and discharge rates after ECMO support for PGF were, respectively, 60% (55/91 patients) and 46% (42/91 patients). The absence of PGF was correlated with improved long-term survival: 78% at 1 year and 71% at 5 years without PGF versus 39% at 1 year and 34% at 5 years with PGF (p < 0.01). Surviving patients treated with ECMO for PGF have similar conditional 1-year survival rates as non-PGF patients: 93% at 3 years and 91% at 5 years without PGF versus 93% at 3 years and 84% at 5 years with PGF (p = 0.46, NS).

Occurrence of PGF is a multifactorial event that depends on both donor and recipient profiles. ECMO support is a reliable treatment for severe PGF; furthermore, surviving patients treated with ECMO have the same 1-year conditional survival rates as patients not having suffered a PGF.

Cosimo D’Alessandro, Jean-Louis Golmard, Eleodoro Barreda, Mojgan Laali, Ralouka Makris, Charles-Edouard Luyt, Pascal Leprince, Alain Pavie. 
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Volume 40, Issue 4, 1 October 2011, Pages 962–970