Early stroke post–heart transplant is associated with decreased survival in children

Cheryl Cammock, Swati Choudhry, Chesney M. Castleberry, Noor Al-Hammadi, Pirooz Eghtesady, Charles E. Canter, Kathleen E. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Major neurologic events (MNEs) after heart transplantation (HTx) and their effect on survival have not been well described in children. In this study we aimed to characterize early MNEs (stroke, isolated seizures not from stroke and posterior reversible leukoencephalopathy [PRES] within 1 year after primary pediatric HTx) and evaluate their impact on 1-year post-HTx survival. We hypothesized that early an MNE after HTx is associated with decreased 1-year patient survival. Methods: We performed a pediatric, single-center, retrospective analysis of 345 consecutive patients aged 0 to 22 years who underwent primary HTx during the period from November 1, 1994 to October 31, 2015. Characteristics were compared between patients with and without early MNEs. Results: Nineteen percent (65 of 345) of patients had an MNE within 1 year after HTx (median 9 days, interquartile range [IQR] 4 to 23 days). Freedom from early MNE was 97%, 85% and 80% at 1, 6 and 12 months, respectively. Of the total 65 events, stroke comprised 55.4% (n = 36), isolated seizure 29.2% (n = 19) and PRES 15.4% (n = 10). With multiple logistic regression, previous neurologic disease, infection requiring intravenous antibiotic therapy and post-operative drug-treated hypertension were found to be significant risk factors for early MNEs. Stroke (hazard ratio 4.1, IQR 2.3 to 7.6, p < 0.0001), but not seizures and PRES, was associated with decreased 1-year patient survival. Conclusions: Major neurologic events are common after pediatric HTx and usually occur within the first few weeks. Early stroke was associated with decreased 1-year survival. Potentially modifiable factors, including prior neurologic event, drug-treated hypertension and infection, were associated with increased risk of developing early MNEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-739
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • children
  • neurological outcomes
  • pediatric heart transplantation
  • post-transplant survival
  • posterior reversible leukoencephalopathy
  • seizure
  • stroke


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