Background: The difficulty in obtaining a prospective negative donor/recipient crossmatch limits the ability to successfully transplant pediatric heart transplant candidates who show evidence of antibodies to multiple human leukocyte antigens (pre-sensitized patients). Methods: We utilized a protocol that included peri-operative plasmapheresis, thymoglobulin and cyclophosphamide in 17 pre-sensitized (panel-reactive antibodies [PRA] >10%) pediatric patients to accept donors for these patients without a prospective crossmatch between 1995 and 2005. A retrospective review of survival, rejection and infection was performed, comparing the frequency of rejection and infection in our patients who were transplanted with a complement-dependent cytotoxic (CDC)-positive donor/recipient crossmatch to those patients transplanted with a negative crossmatch. Results: Thirteen of 17 patients were found to have a CDC-positive crossmatch. Actuarial survival after transplantation was 85% at 1 year and 73% at 3 years. Twelve of 13 (92%) of these patients experienced rejection, and 5 of 13 (38%) had recurrent rejection, generally in the first 2 months after transplantation. Rejection was associated with hemodynamic compromise in 58% of first rejection episodes and 67% of episodes of recurrent rejection. The frequency of rejection in these patients was significantly greater than the frequency in patients with a negative crossmatch in the first 6 months after transplantation, but not afterward. The frequency of infection episodes was not significantly different between the groups. Conclusions: Heart transplantation in pre-sensitized pediatric recipients with a CDC-positive donor/recipient crossmatch may result in reasonable short-term survival, but with a high frequency of early rejection, often with hemodynamic compromise.