March 25, 2021

Pediatric heart transplant method developed by U of A doctors allows for more surgeries, better outcomes

Photo: Lindsey Kemp, taken pre-COVID-19

A pediatric heart transplant procedure pioneered by Canadian doctors—once deemed impossible—has been shown to be at least as effective as the traditional approach, according to newly published research in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

ABO-incompatible heart transplantation was developed in the mid-1990s, after a Canadian transplant team led by Lori West realized that infants under the age of two have immature immune systems that would allow them to accept life-saving replacements for their defective hearts from donors with incompatible blood types.

“It’s really important to see it has not only helped these very sick babies to get transplants faster, but also to live as long, with no more rejections, and better outcomes with regards to infections, as children who received a matched blood group heart,” said principal investigator Simon Urschel, associate professor of pediatrics in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, director of pediatric cardiac transplantation at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and member of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute.

Read the full article on Folio.