Utilization of New Heart Preservation Technology in the Era of New Organ Allocation and Extended Ischemic Times

Funamoto, et al.
Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
April 2019; Volume 38, Issue 4, S44.

Purpose : Current ice bag heart preservation technique is associated with wide fluctuations of organ temperature, resulting in sub-optimal preservation and freeze injury. These shortcomings may be particularly impactful with increased ischemic times given increasing retrieval distances associated with new organ allocation. In comparison, the SherpaPakTM Cardiac Transport System is designed for the static hypothermic preservation of donor hearts within a controlled temperature range. This method avoids excess cooling and optimizes preservation during transportation. The purpose of this study is to assess the outcomes of heart transplantation using the static hypothermic preservation (SHP) system as compared with conventional ice bag preservation (IP).

Methods : Retrospective cohort analysis was performed on adult patients undergoing heart transplantation between 6/30/2018 and 09/02/2019 at a single institution. Donor and recipient baseline characteristics and post-transplant outcomes were compared between patients receiving organs with SHP versus IP for donor heart transport. Patients who underwent multiple organ transplantation were excluded.

Results : Of 48 consecutive patients undergoing heart transplantation, 20 (41.7%) organs were transported using SHP and 28 (58.3%) using IP. SHP was used for older recipients (61.5 vs 57.5 years, p=0.02), and longer donor heart cold ischemic times (4.35 vs 3.49 hours, Figure1, p=0.018). There were no 30-day mortalities. Despite longer ischemic times, there was no difference in the incidence of any primary graft dysfunction (PGD) (14.3% vs 15.0%, p=1) or severe PGD requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (10.7% vs 5.0%, Table1, p=0.63) between SHP and IP.

Conclusion: There was no worsening in clinical outcomes with SHP despite longer ischemic times and older recipient ages. With new heart allocation changes, SHP may be beneficial in cases with further transport distances, by mitigating the effect of prolonged ischemic times.