Heart transplant recipient 1-year outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical transplantation




COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; heart transplantation; pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic initially brought forth considerable challenges to the field of heart transplantation. To prevent the spread of the virus and protect immunocompromised recipients, our center made the following modifications to post-transplant outpatient management: eliminating early coronary angiograms, video visits for postoperative months 7, 9, and 11, and home blood draws for immunosuppression adjustments. To assess if these changes have impacted patient outcomes, the current study examines 1-year outcomes for patients transplanted during the pandemic. Between March and September 2020, we assessed 50 heart transplant patients transplanted during the pandemic. These patients were compared to patients who were transplanted during the same months between 2011 and 2019 (n = 482). Endpoints included subsequent 1-year survival, freedom from cardiac allograft vasculopathy, any-treated rejection, acute cellular rejection, antibody-mediated rejection, nonfatal major adverse cardiac events (NF-MACE), and hospital and ICU length of stay. Patients transplanted during the pandemic had similar 1-year endpoints compared to those of patients transplanted from years prior apart from 1-year freedom from NF-MACE which was significantly higher for patients transplanted during the pandemic. Despite necessary changes being made to outpatient management of heart transplant recipients, heart transplantation continues to be safe and effective with similar 1-year outcomes to years prior.


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