Heart transplant

SNUBH finds indicator to increase survival of Korean heart transplant patients


Researchers from Severance Hospital and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) have found an indicator that can improve the survival rate of Korean heart transplant patients.


Researchers from Severance Hospital and Bundang Hospital of Seoul National University have found an indicator that can increase the survival rate of Korean heart transplant patients. They are, from left to right, professors Kang Seok-min, Oh Jae-won and Yoon Min-jae.


When a patient with severe heart failure is to receive a heart transplant, it is important to find the “right heart”.


In such a case, the difference in heart size between donor and recipient should be minimized.


According to Severance Hospital, heart transplantation is currently performed by matching the heart weights of donors and recipients to select a suitable heart.


However, there was a limit to estimating heart size based on body weight alone, as heart size varies with physique.


To overcome this problem, Western medical institutions use Predicted Heart Mass (PHM), which estimates heart size based on height, gender, and body weight.


In Asia, however, there was a lack of evidence as to whether the use of PHM can help estimate the survival rate of heart transplant patients in Asians, who have a different physique from Westerners.


To find a suitable method for Koreans, the team, led by Professors Kang Seok-min and Oh Jae-won at Severance Hospital, and Yoon Min-jae at SNUBH, compared and analyzed the survival rate of the heart transplantation based on the difference in heart size between donors and recipients in 660 heart transplant patients registered in the Korea Organ Transplant Registry (KOTRY).


The research team divided the cases in which the difference in heart size between donor and recipient was appropriate and inappropriate into two groups based on weight and heart size index and compared the mortality rate at one year after heart transplantation in each group.


As a result, the team confirmed that when the difference was analyzed based on body weight, there was no difference in mortality after heart transplantation between the two groups.


However, when the difference was analyzed based on heart size index, the team confirmed that the mortality rate was 50% higher in patients with an inappropriate heart size difference between donor and the receiver only in the appropriate group.


Notably, the difference in mortality was more pronounced when the recipient’s body mass index (BMI) was less than 25.


“This study is the first study in Korea to show the usefulness of heart size indicators,” Professor Kang said. “Using heart size indicators can help find a more suitable donor and increase patient survival.”