Author + information
- Received March 14, 1994
- Revision received July 1, 1994
- Accepted July 20, 1994
- Published online January 1, 1995.
- Lynne Warner Stevenson, MD, FACC∗∗∗,
- Anthony E Steimle, MD∗,
- Gregg Fonarow, MD∗,
- Michael Kermani, BS∗,
- Donna Kermani, BS∗,
- Michele A Hamilton, MD, FACC∗,
- Jaime D Moriguchi, MD∗,
- Julie Walden, MN∗,
- Jan H Tillisch, MD∗,
- Davis C Drinkwater, MD, FACC∗ and
- Hillel Laks, MD, FACC∗
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Dr. Lynne Warner Stevenson, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
Objectives. This study determined the frequency of improvement in peak oxygen uptake and its role in reevaluation of candidates awaiting heart transplantation.
Background. Ambulatory candidates for transplantation usually wait >6 months to undergo the procedure, and during this period symptoms may lessen, and peak oxygen uptake may improve. Whereas initial transplant candidacy is based increasingly on objective criteria, there are no established guidelines for reevaluation to determine who can leave the active waiting list.
Methods. All ambulatory transplant candidates with initial peak oxygen uptake <14 ml/kg per min were identified. Of 107 such patients listed, 68 survived without early deterioration or transplantation to undergo repeat exercise. A strategy of reevaluation using specific clinical criteria and exercise performance was tested to determine whether patients with improved oxygen uptake could safely be followed without transplantation.
Results. In 38 of the 68 patients, peak oxygen uptake increased by ≥2 ml/kg per min to a level ≥ 12 ml/kg per min after 6 ± 5 months, together with an increase in anaerobic threshold, peak oxygen pulse and exercise heart rate reserve and a decrease in heart rate at rest. Increased peak oxygen uptake was accompanied by stable clinical status without congestion in 31 of 38 patients, and these 31 were taken off the active waiting list. At 2 years, their actuarial survival rate was 100%, and the survival rate without relisting for transplantation was 85%.
Conclusion. Reevaluation of exercise capacity and clinical status allowed removal of 31 (29%) of 107 ambulatory transplant candidates from the waiting list with excellent early survival despite low peak oxygen uptake on initial testing. The ability to increase peak oxygen uptake, particularly with increased peak oxygen pulse, may indicate improved prognosis as well as functional capacity and, in combination with stable clinical status, may be an indication to defer transplantation in favor of more compromised candidates.
☆ This work was supported by the American Heart Association, Greater Los Angeles Affiliate and the Eastern Star Foundation, and the Helen Wolfe Estate in memory of Peter D. Wolfe, Los Angeles California. Dr. Steimle is supported by Training Grant 1T32HL07412-10 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
- Received March 14, 1994.
- Revision received July 1, 1994.
- Accepted July 20, 1994.