Survival Rates Better for Certain Heart Transplant Patients

TUESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have a heart transplant to correct the most common type of genetic heart disease -- hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- have better long-term survival rates than those who have transplants for other heart diseases, a new study finds.

In patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the pumping chamber of the heart, known as the left ventricle, thickens over time. This makes it stiff and less able to relax in order for blood to fill the heart chambers. This serious, potentially fatal condition affects about 500,000 people in the United States.

In the new study, published online Aug. 24 in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, U.S. researchers analyzed data from 26,706 adult heart transplant patients included in the United Network of Organ Sharing Registry. HCM patients account for about 1% of all heart transplants performed nationwide.

One year after transplant, the survival rate was 85% for patients in the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy group and 82% for those with other heart diseases. The survival rates were 75% and 70%, respectively, after five years, and 61% and 49%, respectively, after 10 years.

"Patients with this disease who are undergoing transplant can expect reasonable long-term survival rates -- that's a crucial clinical message for this small but important subgroup of patients," lead author Dr. Martin S. Maron, an assistant professor of medicine, director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center and co-director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said in an American Heart Association news release.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Aug. 24, 2010