Background: Despite 40 years of heart transplantation, the optimal atrial anastomotic technique remains unclear. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database provides a unique and novel opportunity to address this question by examining survival in a large cohort of patients undergoing orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT). We hypothesized that, when examining the issue on a large scale, no difference in survival would exist between techniques. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed first-time adult OHT in the UNOS database to identify 14,418 patients undergoing OHT between the years 1999 and 2005. Primary stratification was between those who underwent bicaval vs biatrial techniques. Baseline demographic and clinical factors were also recorded. The primary end-point was mortality from all causes during the study period. Secondary outcomes included length of hospital stay (LOS), and need for permanent pacemaker placement (PP). Post-transplant survival was compared between groups using a Cox proportional hazard regression model. Results: Of the 11,931 patients who met inclusion criteria between 1999 and 2005, 5,207 (44%) underwent the bicaval anastomotic technique. Bicaval and biatrial groups were well matched for gender, donor age, ischemic time, pulmonary vascular resistance, transpulmonary gradient, cardiac index, body mass index and pre-operative creatinine. Technique was not associated with survival during the study period (hazard ratio 1.06, p = 0.31). On multivariate analysis, age, gender, donor age and ischemic time were independent predictors of mortality. The bicaval technique was associated with less need for post-operative PP (2.0% vs 5.3%, p < 0.001) and shorter LOS (19 vs 21 days, p < 0.001). Conclusions: This study is the single largest series examining bicaval vs biatrial anastamotic techniques for OHT. We found no difference in survival between the two groups, although the bicaval technique was associated with shorter LOS and pacemaker placement. Both techniques lead to equivalent survival in OHT.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine