Intended for healthcare professionals

Papers And Short Reports

Cardiac transplantation in severely ill patients requiring intensive support in hospital

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 19 March 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:817
  1. David Mulcahy,
  2. Christine Wright,
  3. Lorna Mockus,
  4. Magdi Yacoub,
  5. Kim Fox


    Sixty four patients were referred for cardiac transplantation from a single cardiac team at this hospital between October 1984 and December 1986. Of these patients, 33 were referred for urgent transplantation, all of whom required intensive treatment in hospital with intravenous infusions of cardiac drugs, intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation, peritoneal dialysis, ventilation, or any combination of these to sustain life. Of these 33 patients, six died while awaiting transplantation, one was removed from the waiting list for a transplant, and 26 received cardiac transplants. There were five deaths within 24 hours of operation and one death 10 days after the operation. Twenty of those who had surgery had a successful outcome of transplantation, but there was one late death 10 weeks postoperatively and a further death 31 months after surgery. Eighteen patients were alive and well 10 to 33 months (mean 19·4 months) after transplantation, with an overall survival rate after surgery of 69%.

    Provided that surgery can be performed before renal failure has progressed such that renal transplantation is necessary, the results are excellent (surgical survival 85·5%) and, we believe, justify the expenditure and staffing requirements necessary to treat these terminally ill patients.