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Heart transplantation with generic immunosuppression – a developing country experience


Heart transplantation is the therapy of choice for advance heart failure. Our group developed two transplant programs at Instituto Nacional del Torax and Clinica Davila. We report our clinical experience based with generic immunosuppression with may have lower costs and may allow more patients to be transplanted.


Fifty-three consecutive patients were transplanted between November 2008 and April 2013, representing 51% of all Chilean cases.


Ischemic or dilated cardiomyopathy were the main indications (23(43%) each), age 48+13 years and 48(91%) were male. Transplant listing Status: IA 14(26%)(VAD or 2 inotropes), IB 14(26%)(1 inotrope) and II 25 (47%) (no inotrope). Mean waiting time 70+83 days. Twelve (24%) were transplanted during VAD support (median support: 36 days). Operative technique: orthotopic bicaval transplant with ischemia time: 175+54 min. Operative mortality: 3 (6%), all due to right ventricular failure. Re-exploration for bleeding 2 (4%), stroke 3(6%), mediastinitis 0(0%), pneumonia 4(8%), and transient dialysis 6 (11%). Mean follow-up was 21+14 months. Three-year survival was 86+6%. One patient died of Pneumocystis Jirovecii pneumonia and the other died suddenly (non-compliance). Freedom from rejection requiring specific therapy was 80+7% at 3 years of follow-up. Four hundred eighty four endomyocardial biopsies were done: 11(2.3%) had 2R rejection. All survivors are in NYHA (New York Heart Association) functional class I and all but one has normal biventricular function.


Mid-term results are similar to those reported by the registry of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Rejection rates are low in spite of generic immunosuppression.

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Correspondence to M Villavicencio.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Villavicencio, M., Rossel, V., Larrea, R. et al. Heart transplantation with generic immunosuppression – a developing country experience. J Cardiothorac Surg 8 (Suppl 1), O157 (2013).

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