Heart transplantation is an accepted therapeutic option in selected patients with end-stage heart failure. Up to 10% of patients develop renal failure while on the waiting list for heart transplantation. Renal dysfunction is a relative contraindication to heart transplantation. In order to establish current practice in UK heart transplant centres and overall surgical outcomes for combined heart and kidney transplantation, we surveyed the eight units currently responsible for heart transplantation, all but one of which had carried out at least one combined heart and kidney transplant. We obtained outcome data from the United Kingdom Transplant organisation. We found a wide variability in the level of renal function considered a contraindication to heart transplantation, and no consensus on the criteria for combined heart and kidney transplantation. The 30-day mortality was 14% (4/28) and survival at one, three, five and 10 years was 66.5 (95% confidence interval 57.3–75.7), 50.2 (40.3–60.1), 45.6 (35.6–55.7), and 30.8 (19.2–42.4) respectively, with significant variability between centres.
A prospective, controlled trial is needed to address these issues, but such a study remains extremely unlikely in the context of the increasing scarcity of organ donors.
For UK healthcare professionals only