Background: Leukocyte suppression is a sequela of immunosuppressive therapy after orthotopic heart transplantation and may result in discontinuation of anti-proliferative agents. Clinical outcomes in this patient population have not been well delineated. Methods: This study was a retrospective review of children who underwent orthotopic heart transplantation at our institution from 1986 to 2003. Leukocyte suppression was defined as a white blood cell count <5,000, prompting the withdrawal of anti-proliferative agents. The population was divided into 2 groups, leukosuppressed (LS) and non-leukosuppressed (NLS), and their clinical outcomes were compared. Results: The study included 109 patients, of which 44 (40%) became leukosuppressed. The 2 groups were similar regarding demographic data and initial management. The LS Group had a significantly decreased incidence of rejection, being 7 times less likely to have recurrent rejection (p = 0.001). The median time to rejection was 0.8 ± 0.6 years for the NLS Group, whereas the median time to rejection was not yet reached at 17 years for the LS Group. The LS Group also tended toward a decreased incidence of retransplantation or death (p = 0.06). The organ "half-life" in the NLS Group was 7.5 years vs 12.5 years in the LS Group. There was no difference between the 2 groups in regards to other adverse effects of immunosuppression. Conclusions: Children who have undergone orthotopic heart transplantation and subsequently become leukosuppressed have a lower incidence of rejection and a tendency toward less organ loss than children who do not become leukosuppressed, without having an increased incidence of adverse side effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine