Elective and non-elective endomyocardial biopsy in heart transplant patients and procedural outcomes: An IMPACT registry analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pediatric transplantation




children; endomyocardial biopsy; heart transplant; hemodynamics; outcomes; rejection


BACKGROUND: Endomyocardial biopsies are standard of care for transplant surveillance, however the procedural risks are not well established, especially in children. The purpose of the study was therefore to assess procedural risks and outcomes associated with elective (surveillance) biopsies and non-elective (clinically indicated) biopsies. METHODS: We used the NCDR IMPACT registry database for this retrospective analysis. Patients undergoing an endomyocardial biopsy were identified using the procedural code, with a diagnosis of heart transplantation required. Data regarding indication, hemodynamics, adverse events and outcomes was gathered and analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 32 547 endomyocardial biopsies were performed between 2012-2020; 31 298 (96.5%) elective and 1133 (3.5%) were non-elective biopsies. Non-elective biopsy was more commonly performed in infants and in those above 18 years of age, in female and in Black race patients and in those with non-private insurance (all p < .05) and showed hemodynamic derangements. Overall rate of complications was low. Combined major adverse events were more common in non-elective patients, with sicker patient profile, use of general anesthesia and femoral access with overall decline in these events over time. CONCLUSIONS: This large-scale analysis shows safety of surveillance biopsies and that non-elective biopsies carry a small but significant risk of major adverse event. Patient profile impacts the safety of the procedure. These data may serve as important comparison point for newer non-invasive tests and for bench marking, especially in children.