Background There is increasing evidence that donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSA) are associated with poor outcomes after cardiac transplantation in adults, but data are limited in children. The objective of this study was to examine the development and consequences of de novo DSA in pediatric recipients of heart transplants. Methods We analyzed 105 pediatric patients who received heart transplants at our center from January 2002 to December 2012. All patients had negative T-cell and B-cell post-transplant crossmatches. Patients underwent HLA antibody screening at 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 months post-transplant and annually thereafter unless there was suspicion for rejection. HLA class I and II antibodies were identified using Luminex assay. Coronary angiography was performed at 1 year and annually thereafter. Acute cellular rejection, antibody-mediated rejection, and treated clinical rejections were included together as rejection events. Results Of 105 patients, 45 (43%) developed de novo DSA. DSA-positive patients had significantly higher rates of coronary artery vasculopathy (CAV) compared with DSA-negative patients (36% vs 13%). CAV-free survival at 1 year and 5 years post-transplant for DSA-negative patients was 90% and 25%, respectively, compared with 70% and 0%, respectively, for DSA-positive patients (p < 0.01). DSA-positive patients had 2.5 times more rejection events per year than DSA-negative patients. The 5-year graft survival rate was 72.4% for DSA-negative patients and 21% for DSA-positive patients (p < 0.001). Conclusions De novo DSA has a strong negative impact on CAV, rejection, and graft survival in pediatric recipients of heart transplants.
- cardiac allograft vasculopathy
- donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies
- heart transplantation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine