The Use of Oral Sildenafil for Management of Right Ventricular Dysfunction After Pediatric Heart Transplantation

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Abstract

High pulmonary vascular resistance index (PVRI) can lead to right ventricular dysfunction and failure of the donor heart early after pediatric heart transplantation. Oral pulmonary vasodilators such as sildenafil have been shown to be effective modifiers of pulmonary vascular tone. We performed a retrospective, observational study comparing patients treated with sildenafil (“sildenafil group”) to those not treated with sildenafil (“nonsildenafil group”) after heart transplantation from 2007 to 2012. Pre- and posttransplant data were obtained, including hemodynamic data from right heart catheterizations. Twenty-four of 97 (25%) transplant recipients were transitioned to sildenafil from other systemic vasodilators. Pretransplant PVRI was higher in the sildenafil group (6.8 ± 3.9 indexed Woods units [WU]) as compared to the nonsildenafil group (2.5 ± 1.7 WU, p = 0.002). In the sildenafil group posttransplant, there were significant decreases in systolic pulmonary artery pressure, mean pulmonary artery pressure, transpulmonary gradient and PVRI (4.7 ± 2.9 WU before sildenafil initiation to 2.7 ± 1 WU on sildenafil, p = 0.0007). While intubation time, length of inotrope use and time to hospital discharge were longer in the sildenafil group, survival was similar between both groups. Oral sildenafil was associated with a significant improvement in right ventricular dysfunction and invasive hemodynamic measurements in pediatric heart transplant recipients with high PVRI early after transplant.

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