Previous studies have failed to demonstrate consistent links between recipient outcomes and the characteristics and cardiac function of their donor heart. For example, some hearts are rejected because of smaller size or donor age, yet these factors alone do not determine the recipient’s long-term results. Khush and her team recognized the critical need to standardize which donor hearts can be used for transplants—and which ones to let go.
Paving New Paths Toward Safe Heart Transplantation
Stanford Medicine’s Donor Heart Study is unlike any study done before. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored the study, which had three primary goals:
- Identify reliable measures of cardiac function in potential heart transplant donors
- Prospectively study reasons for non-acceptance of donor hearts
- Develop evidence-based clinical tools for transplant centers, empowering them to make real-time decisions about donor heart acceptance
The five-year prospective study collected data on nearly 4,500 donors managed by eight organ procurement organizations (OPOs) across the U.S. Enrollment is complete, and researchers are currently analyzing and processing the data.
“We submitted our first analyses as an abstract to the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions,” said Khush. “Our first manuscript is being written, with hopefully many more to follow.”