The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Racial and socioeconomic disparities in pediatric heart transplant outcomes in the era of anti-thymocyte globulin induction

Published:September 12, 2022DOI:


      Black race is associated with worse outcomes across solid organ transplantation. Augmenting immunosuppression through antithymocyte globulin (ATG) induction may mitigate organ rejection and graft loss. We investigated whether racial and socioeconomic outcome disparities persist in children receiving ATG induction.


      Using the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society registry, we compared outcomes in Black and White children who underwent heart transplant with ATG induction between 2000 and 2020. The primary outcomes of treated rejection, rejection with hemodynamic compromise (HC), and graft loss (death or re-transplant). We explored the association of these outcomes with race and socioeconomic disparity, assessed using a neighborhood deprivation index [NDI] score at 1-year post-transplant (high NDI score implies more socioeconomic disadvantage).


      The study cohort included 1,719 ATG-induced pediatric heart transplant recipients (22% Black, 78% White). There was no difference in first year treated rejection (Black 24.5%, White 28.1%, p = 0.2). During 10 year follow up, the risk of treated rejection was similar; however, Black recipients were at higher risk of HC rejection (p = 0.009) and graft loss (p = 0.02). Black recipients had a higher mean NDI score (p < 0.001). Graft loss conditional on 1-year survival was associated with high NDI score in both White and Black recipients (p < 0.0001). In a multivariable Cox model, both high NDI score (HR 1.97, 95% CI 1.23-3.17) and Black race (HR 2.22, 95% CI 1.40-3.53) were associated with graft loss.


      Black race and socioeconomic disadvantage remain associated with late HC rejection and graft loss in children with ATG induction. These disparities represent important opportunities to improve long term transplant outcomes.



      ATG (antithymocyte globulin), PHTS (Pediatric Heart Transplant Society), NDI (neighborhood deprivation index), HC (hemodynamic compromise)
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