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Hearts from donors who tested positive for COVID-19 may be safe to use.

A new review including data from the first 84 Covid-positive donor heart transplant patients in the US found that donor hearts from people with the infection appeared to be as safe for transplantation as those from people without the virus (Trusted Source: 01 , 02 , 03 )

Patients who received a heart from a donor who tested positive for Covid spent an average of 15 days in the hospital, while those who received a heart from a donor who tested negative for the virus spent an average of 17 days in the hospital.

Study author Samuel T. Kim of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “These findings suggest that we may be able to be more aggressive about accepting donors that are positive for Covid-19 when patients are desperately in need of an organ for heart transplantation.”

The findings will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 at the beginning of next month.

To make matters worse, “the pandemic made things worse with an increased rate of donors testing positive for Covid-19,” which normally deems the donors unfit for transplantation, as Kim put it.

“However, a number of academic centers have recently begun using COVID-positive donor hearts for heart transplants, and they have reported positive results.”

The investigation found that the rates of death in the hospital and 30 days after transplantation were identical between the two groups of people who received organs from different donors, as were the rates of complications such as graft failure (when the body rejects the new organ) and lung difficulties.

Only 1% of recipients had organ rejection, while 2.4% of those receiving organs from donors who tested positive for Covid.

The 30-day survival rate for recipients of hearts from Covid-19-positive donors was nearly 96%, compared to 97% for recipients of hearts from virus-negative donors.

There were no deaths due to pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses among the four patients who had received hearts from Covid-positive donors.

The researchers claimed to have been taken aback by the results.

“We assumed death from respiratory or lung-related causes would be an issue among patients receiving donor hearts containing Covid-19,” Kim explained.

However, these distinctions were not discovered by the researchers.

“These findings provide evidence that outcomes were similar at 30 days post-transplant among patients who received Covid-19-positive donor hearts, so the potential risks appear to be lower than expected,” said Eldrin F. Lewis, chair of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Publishing Committee and an advanced heart failure and heart transplant specialist.


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Written by Dr. Ozair (CEO of SignSymptom.com) as physician writers are physicians who write creatively in fields outside their practice of medicine.

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