Palliated Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Patients Experience Superior Waitlist and Comparable Post-Heart Transplant Survival to Non-Single Ventricle Congenital Heart Disease Patients

Published:November 28, 2022DOI:
      Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a well-established risk factor for inferior waitlist and post-heart transplant survival in children. Differences in outcomes between CHD subgroups are understudied. The present study compared outcomes for palliated hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) patients to other non-single ventricle CHD (non-SVCHD) and non-CHD patients. United Network for Organ Sharing was used to identify children (age < 18) listed for heart transplant in the United States between 2016 and 2021. CHD sub-diagnoses were only available for United Network for Organ Sharing status 1a after 2015, thereby defining the cohort. Waitlist outcomes were studied using competing-risk time-to-event analysis for transplantation, mortality/decompensation, and alive-on-waitlist. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with inferior post-transplant survival. Patients included: palliated-HLHS (n = 477), non-SVCHD (n = 686), and non-CHD (n = 1261). At listing, Palliated-HLHS patients were older than non-SVCHD (median 2-year [IQR 0-8] vs median 0-year [0-3], respectively) and younger than non-CHD (median 7-year [0-14]) (P < 0.001 vs both), and were more likely to be white (P < 0.01 vs both). Upon time-to-event analysis, rates of waitlist mortality/decompensation rates were greater among non-SVCHD than palliated-HLHS. Post-transplant survival was comparable between palliated-HLHS and non-SVCHD (P = 0.920) but worse compared to non-CHD (P < 0.001). Both palliated-HLHS (HR 2.40 [95% CI 1.68-3.42]) and non-SVSCHD (2.04 [1.39-2.99]) were independently associated with post-transplant mortality. Palliated-HLHS patients with heart failure experience significantly worse post-transplant outcomes than non-CHD but, compared to other CHD patients, experience superior waitlist and comparable post-transplant survival. While a high-risk cohort, HLHS patients can achieve gratifying waitlist and post-transplant survival.

      Graphical Abstract



      CHD (congenital heart disease), CI (confidence interval), ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome), HR (hazards ratio), IQR (interquartile range), palliated HLHS (operated (palliated) hypoplastic left heart syndrome patients), other-CHD (patients with other congenital heart disease lesions), non-SV CHD (patients with non-single-ventricle congenital heart disease lesions), UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), VAD (ventricular assist device)
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