Heart transplant survival: Results may be key to rejection prevention, detection, treatment

04/19/04

Late-breaking clinical trial results to be announced at ISHLT annual meeting this week

Research to be presented at the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) 24th Annual Meeting April 21-24 in San Francisco, points to major victories in the battle for immune system balance in heart transplant patients.

"The combination of emerging technologies and drugs could mean greatly improved patient management and longer survival rates," said Mandeep Mehra, M.D., Program Chair of ISHLT and an ISHLT director. "The results of these studies have been much anticipated by the transplant community."

Some of the late-breaking trial results to be revealed include:

  • Use of intravascular ultrasound as a predictor for long-term heart transplant outcomes Data from a five-year multi-center validation study (Abstract #27)
  • Immunosuppressant drug everolimus used to prevent acute cardiac disease and rejection 24-month study results (Abstract #28)
  • Using molecular testing to predict clinical outcomes for heart transplantation Outcomes of a prospective multi-center trial (Abstract #192)
  • Protection from transplant disease (graft vasculopathy) with use of sirolimus from time of heart transplantation Results from a two-year study (Abstract #193)

Worldwide, approximately 4,500 cardiac transplants are performed annually. Despite significant progress made in surgical techniques and post-operative care, the risks associated with cardiac surgery remain high. The one-year survival rate after transplantation is approximately 80 percent; this number drops to nearly 50 percent after 10 years. The leading cause of death during the first three years is acute rejection of the transplanted organ. The patient's immune system attacks the heart as if it were a foreign object until it no longer functions properly.

Another contributing factor to limited survival rates is cardiac allograft vasculopathy (transplant vessel damage). This thickening of artery walls in a transplanted heart can result in restricted blood flow and sometimes clots, causing heart attacks and other life threatening events.

"Ultrasound can measure thickening in arterial walls and molecular testing can help us evaluate graft damage early, thus, allowing us to catch rejection and its effects early," said Dr. Mehra. "New immunosuppressant drugs provide another vital management tool in preventing or treating transplant vessel damage. It's a promising time in transplant research."

Review abstracts and a complete meeting schedule online at www.ishlt.org.

Media invited
Late-breaking clinical trial results to be presented in Grand Ballroom B at the San Francisco Hilton:

  • Thursday, April 22 during the Luncheon Symposium from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 23 during the Plenary Session from 7:55 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, April 24 during the Closing Plenary Session from 4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

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About ISHLT
The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and treatment of end-stage heart and lung diseases. Created in 1981 at a gathering of about 15 cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, the Society now includes more than 2,200 members from 45-plus countries, representing a variety of disciplines involved in the management and treatment of end-stage heart and lung disease.

ISHLT maintains two vital databases. The International Heart and Lung Transplant Registry is a one-of-a-kind registry that has been collecting data since 1983 from 223 hospitals from 18 countries. The ISHLT Mechanical Circulatory Device (MCSD) database has been collecting data since 2002 with the aim of identifying patient populations who may benefit from MCSD implantation; generating predictive models for outcomes; and assessing the mechanical and biological reliability of current and future devices. For more information, visit www.ishlt.org.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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