Nav: Home

Heart transplants from severely obese donors show comparable outcomes for patients

September 16, 2020

DALLAS, Sept. 16, 2020 -- Heart transplant patients who received hearts from severely obese donors had similar short-term outcomes and long-term survival as patients who received hearts from non-obese donors, according to new research published today in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

The waiting list for a heart transplant in the U.S. is continuously about 3,000 people, and only half of those people receive a donor heart within a year. There is an urgent need to expand the pool of potential heart donors; however, transplant centers are hesitant to accept hearts from obese donors. In the U.S., almost 40% of the adult population is classified as obese, and nearly 8% have severe obesity, which is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 40.

"As the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. continues to rise, it directly affects the pool of organ donors," said Leora T. Yarboro, M.D., lead study author and associate professor of surgery at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. "Since the prevalence of severe obesity has increased significantly over the past 15 years, we wanted to investigate the outcomes of recipients of transplant hearts from donors with severe obesity."

The study used the national United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database to analyze the outcomes of 26,000 heart transplants from 2003-2017. Approximately 900, or 3.5%, of the donors had severe obesity. Severely obese donors, a BMI ?40, were more likely to be older and female. In addition:
  • 10% of severely obese donors had diabetes vs. 3% of non-obese donors;
  • 33% of obese donors had hypertension vs. 15% of donors with BMI <40;
  • 67% of heart transplants from severely obese donors were size mismatched (the donor's weight was >130% of the recipient's weight), compared to only 10% of transplants from donors without severe obesity; and
  • transplants from donors with severe obesity increased over time (from 2.2% in 2013 to 5.3% in 2017).
The analysis demonstrated no significant differences in post-transplant outcomes for patients who received a heart from a severely obese donor. Short-term outcomes, including postoperative stroke, acute rejection of the donor heart, pacemaker need and dialysis requirement, were similar for recipients of hearts from obese and non-obese donors. There was also no difference in one-year survival rates and long-term mortality for patients with transplants from severely obese donors.

"These findings were somewhat surprising because the severely obese donors did tend to have more medical problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, than the non-obese donors," Yarboro said. "This study shows that with careful selection, hearts from obese donors can be used without an increased risk to the recipient. Given the continued increase in obesity in the U.S., this research has the potential to expand the critically low donor pool by increasing the number of donors and improving outcomes for the growing list of patients with end-stage heart failure."
-end-
Co-authors Elizabeth D. Krebs, M.D., M.Sc.; Jared P. Beller, M.D.; J. Hunter Mehaffey, M.D., M.Sc.; Nicholas R. Teman, M.D.; Jamie L. W. Kennedy, M.D.; and Gorav Ailawadi, M.D. Author disclosures are in the manuscript.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Additional Resources:

Available multimedia is on right column of release link - https://newsroom.heart.org/news/heart-transplants-from-severely-obese-donors-show-comparable-outcomes-for-patients?preview=238462d077290837fbf81f3e67fa32cb

After Sept. 16, view the manuscript online.

Heart transplants from donors with hepatitis C may be safe and could help decrease organ shortage

Women and men tolerate heart transplants equally well, but men may get better hearts

Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews

Follow news from the AHA's Circulation: Heart Failure journal @CircHF

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association's policy or position. The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

American Heart Association

Related Obesity Articles:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.
Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.
Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.
Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).
How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.
Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?
Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.
Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.
Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.
More Obesity News and Obesity Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.