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Immune response in transplantation

Dec. 16, 2015, 4:00 PM

by Andrew Wiese

The development of antibodies against the donor heart can lead to rejection in heart transplant recipients. Yet little information is available regarding risk factors that lead to antibody development specifically among pediatric patients.

Justin Godown, M.D., and colleagues sought to learn more about the issue by examining all pediatric heart transplant procedures at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt over a 27-year period. They used survival analyses to estimate the time to antibody development related to a variety of risk factors.

In a report published in Pediatric Transplantation they showed that 33 percent of pediatric heart transplant patients developed antibodies against the donor heart. Risk factors included African American race, prior sensitization to immune system antigens, prior mechanical support, and traumatic death via gunshot wound in the donor.

These findings should help clinicians develop appropriate monitoring and treatment strategies for patients identified as being at greater risk of antibody development and subsequent transplant rejection.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant TR000445).

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