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    J Heart Lung Transplant. 2013 Jan;32(1):92-7. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2012.10.009.

    Utility of C4d immunostaining in the first year after pediatric and young adult heart transplantation.


    University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



    C4d assessment of endomyocardial biopsies (EMBs) after heart transplantation (HTx) has been widely adopted to aid in the diagnosis of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), yet it remains unclear whether or not to assess all patients routinely and with what frequency/duration. In this study we sought to evaluate the utility of routine C4d immunostaining in the first year after pediatric and young adult HTx.


    We reviewed pre-transplant alloantibody and clinical data, including serial EMB reports, on all 51 patients who received HTx at our center since we instituted routine C4d staining of all first-year EMBs. C4d was considered positive if diffuse capillary staining (≥ 2(+)) was present. Rare/focal capillary staining or absence of staining was considered negative.


    Twenty-six of 406 first-year EMBs (6%) were C4d(+) in 6 (12%) patients. Sixty-five percent of all C4d(+) EMBs occurred by 30 days post-transplant. Five of 6 patients had pre-transplant donor-specific antibody (DSA) ≥ 4,000 MFI. The sixth patient had neither pre-transplant anti-HLA antibodies nor a positive donor-specific cytotoxicity crossmatch (DSXM), but there was clinical concern for AMR. Among the entire cohort, 5 of 10 patients with pre-transplant DSA ≥ 4,000 MFI and/or a positive DSXM were C4d(+) compared with only 1 of 41 without (50% vs 2%; p = 0.001).


    In the first year after HTx, C4d(+) occurred early and only in children and young adults with pre-transplant DSA or with clinical suspicion of AMR. Although our data suggest that assessment limited to the first 90 days post-transplant in patients with pre-transplant DSA ≥ 4,000 MFI may be appropriate in the absence of clinical concern for AMR, further research is needed to determine the optimum strategy for post-transplant surveillance.

    Copyright © 2013 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    [PubMed - in process]
    [Available on 2014/1/1]

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