The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-7120-10-25) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
MC and FP conceived this study, performed the data analysis, and drafted the manuscript; TB gave a contribution to the preparation of study design, data discussion, and critical revision of the manuscript; DS and MGG were responsible for data collection and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Heart transplantation is limited by a severe donor organ shortage. Potential donors with brain death (BD) and left ventricular dysfunction due to neurogenic stunning are currently excluded from donation – although such abnormalities can be reversible with aggressive treatment including Hormonal Treatment (HT) and deferred organ retrieval.
To assess the recovery of left ventricular dysfunction in potential brain-dead donors with hemodynamic instability treated by aggressive treatment and HT.
In a single-center, observational study design, we evaluated 15 consecutive brain-dead potential donors (DBD) (8 males, age = 48 ± 15 years) with hemodynamic instability. All underwent standard hemodynamic monitoring and transthoracic 2-dimensional echo (2-DE) with assessment of Ejection Fraction (EF). Measurements were obtained before BD and after BD within 6 h, at 24 h and within 48 h. HT (with insulin, methylprednisolone, vasopressin and T3) was started as soon as possible to treat hemodynamic instability and avoid administration of norepinephrine (NE). Eligible potential heart donors underwent coronary angiography.
After HT, we observed a normalization of hemodynamic conditions with improvement of mean arterial pressure (pre = 68 ± 8 mmHg vs post = 83 ± 13 mmHg, p < .01), cardiac index (pre = 2.4 ± 0.6 L/min/m2 vs post 3.7 ± 1.2 L/min/m2, p < .05), EF (pre = 48 ± 15 vs post = 59 ± 3%, p < .01) without administration of norepinephrine (NE) in 67% of cases. Five potential donors were excluded from donation (opposition, n = 3, tubercolosis n = 1, malignancy n = 1). At pre-harvesting angiography, coronary artery stenosis was present in 2 of the 10 consented donors. Eight hearts were uneventfully transplanted. No early graft failure occurred and all eight recipients were alive at 6-month follow-up.
In BD donors, intensive treatment including HT is associated with improvement of regional and global LV function and reverse remodeling detectable by transthoracic 2DE. Donor hearts with recovered LV function may be eligible for uneventful heart transplant. The wait (in brain death), treat (with HT) and see (with 2D echo) strategy can help rescue organs suitable for heart donation.
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- Wait, treat and see: echocardiographic monitoring of brain-dead potential donors with stunned heart
Maria Grazia Gaspari
- BioMed Central
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