Endomyocardial biopsy is commonly used to screen for cellular rejection in pediatric heart transplant patients. The yield of EMBs when combined with newly developed immunohistochemical techniques and modern immunosuppression in pediatric heart transplant patients is unknown. After OHT, surveillance biopsies were performed on a routine basis on all pediatric patients. EMBs were also performed on symptomatic OHT patients suspected to have rejection. All positive results (greater than ISHLT grade 1B) were confirmed with immunohistochemical staining. A retrospective review of consecutive EMBs performed in this institution from January 1995 to January 2003 was performed. The echocardiographic results, clinical history and treatment changes at the time of every biopsy were also catalogued. Of the 1093 EMB results from 136 pediatric heart transplant grafts (127 patients, 64 male) reviewed, 825 biopsies were performed on patients managed with tacrolimus and 268 were performed on patients managed with cyclosporine. The patients managed with tacrolimus had an incidence of 0.85% (7/825) for significant rejection (greater than ISHLT grade 1B rejection) vs. an incidence of 4.1% (11/268) for the patients on cyclosporine (p < 0.0005). In the asymptomatic tacrolimus patients, only two screening biopsies (0.26%) manifest significant rejection, and both of these were performed within the first month after transplantation. Of the symptomatic tacrolimus patients, 9.1% (n = 5) had findings on biopsy consistent with significant cellular rejection. There were 25 patients with grade 1B rejection. Twenty-two of these patients were not treated, and all cases of grade 1B rejection resolved without clinical sequelae. For pediatric patients more than 30 days after OHT, EMB has failed to reveal significant episodes of cellular rejection in asymptomatic patients managed with tacrolimus.
- Endomyocardial biopsy
- Orthotopic heart transplantation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health