Attitudes to Cardiac Xenotransplantation by Pediatric Heart Surgeons and Physicians

Academic Article


  • Background: Cardiac transplantation in early childhood is limited by scarcity of organ donors. Advances in cardiac xenotransplantation (XTx) research suggest that xenografts may one day represent an alternative to allografts. We sought to determine the attitudes among surgeons and cardiologists in the field of pediatric cardiac transplantation toward the potential use of XTx if this clinical option were to become a reality. Methods: A Likert-scale anonymous survey addressing the use of XTx in pediatric patients was sent to members of the Congenital Heart Surgeons (CHS) Society and the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society. Results were described and compared between the two surgeon/physician groups. Results: Ninety-two CHS and 42 pediatric transplant cardiologists (PTC) responded (N = 134). The potential acceptance of XTx was high in both groups, assuming risks and results were similar to those of cardiac allotransplantation (88% CHS vs 81% PTC; P =.07). When asked if they would recommend a xenograft, if the results were anticipated to be inferior to those of cardiac allotransplantation, as a bridge to a human heart, potential acceptance fell dramatically but remained higher among CHS than PTC (41% vs 17%, p 0.02). Approximately only one-third of CHS and half of PTC preferred primary cardiac XTx for hypoplastic left heart syndrome if there was no waitlist time and had similar outcomes to allotransplantation. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that potential acceptance of XTx by CHS and PTC would not be a major barrier if XTx demonstrated similar outcomes to allotransplantation. Acceptance by other congenital heart stakeholders remains to be investigated.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Padilla LA; Sorabella RA; Carlo WF; Dabal RJ; Rhodes L; Cleveland DC; Cooper DK; Paris W
  • Start Page

  • 426
  • End Page

  • 430
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 4