Successful heart transplantation in patients with total artificial heart infections

Sarah Taimur, Timothy Sullivan, Mennakshi Rana, Gopi Patel, Julie Roldan, Kimberly Ashley, Sean Pinney, Anelechi Anyanwu, Shirish Huprikar

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4 Scopus citations


Background: Data are limited on clinical outcomes in patients awaiting heart transplant (HT) with total artificial heart (TAH) infections. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all TAH recipients at our center. TAH infection was classified as definite if a microorganism was isolated in cultures from the exit site or deep tissues around the TAH; as probable in patients without surgical or microbiologic evidence of infection but no other explanation for persistent or recurrent bloodstream infection (BSI); or possible in patients with clinical suspicion and radiographic findings suggestive of TAH infection, but without surgical intervention or microbiologic evidence. Results: From 2012 to 2015, a total of 13 patients received a TAH, with a median age at implantation of 52 years (range: 28-60). TAH infection occurred in nine patients (seven definite, one probable, one possible) a median of 41 days after implant (range: 17-475). The majority of TAH infections were caused by Staphylococcus species. Seven of nine patients underwent HT (four had pre-HT mediastinal washout, and five had positive HT operative cultures). Three patients had an active BSI caused by the same pathogen causing TAH infection at the time of HT, with one developing a post-HT BSI with the same bacteria. No patient developed post-HT surgical site infection caused by the TAH infection pathogen. No deaths among HT recipients were attributed to infection. Conclusion: TAH infection is frequently associated with BSI and mediastinitis and Staphylococcus was the most common pathogen. A multimodal approach of appropriate pre- and post-HT antimicrobial therapy, surgical drainage, and heart transplantation with radical mediastinal debridement was successful in curing infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12801
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • microbiology of total artificial heart infections
  • outcomes of total artificial heart infections
  • total artificial heart infections


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