There is a risk of every fourth heart examined for possible donation being dismissed as unusable due to stress-induced heart failure. But this condition, according to new research, has no bearing on the outcome of a transplant. These results open the way for up to 30% more heart transplant.
The study, published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, is based on particulars of 641 potential heart donors in Sweden in the years 2006-2016. Either these people, who had been declared brain-dead, had said yes to donation during their lives or their survivors had given the go-ahead.
As many as 24% of potential donors had acute stress-induced cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, in which cardiac function is impaired in one part of the heart, while the other parts beats normally. This condition is caused by the massive surge in stress hormones observed in the course of brain death.