Heart transplant

The 10 most common reasons for hospitalization after a heart transplant

While a large majority of heart transplants (HT) in the United States are successful, unplanned hospitalizations are still incredibly common. In fact, a 2018 analysis found that 62% of heart transplant patients are hospitalized within 60 days of the procedure.

What leads to these unplanned hospitalizations? A team of specialists set out to find out, sharing their findings in Current problems in cardiology.[1]

“There are limited data regarding the causes of rehospitalization after one year post-transplant,” wrote first author Husam M. Salah, MD, University of Arkansas Department of Medicine specialist for medical sciences, and these partner’work. “With improving HT outcomes and the growing population of HT recipients with a median survival of 12 years, it becomes imperative to identify the leading causes of hospitalizations among this population.”

Salah et al. examined data from the national inpatient sample, focusing on heart transplants performed from 2004 to 2018. Only adult patients were included in the analysis.

The number of hospitalizations increased from 11,244 in 2004 to 16,035 in 2018. Adjusted all-cause in-hospital mortality decreased from 2.99% in 2004 to 1.01% in 2018.

Additionally, the adjusted length of stay decreased from 6.11 days in 2004 to 5.62 days in 2018, but hospitalization costs “did not change significantly.”

“Despite an increase in the burden of comorbidity over time, it is reassuring that all-cause inpatient mortality and adjusted length of stay for HT recipient hospitalizations decreased over the period of study, which can be attributed to improved clinician awareness and care of transplant recipients,” the authors wrote.