Geographic Distance From Transplant Center Does Not Impact Pediatric Heart Transplant Outcomes

Meghann McKane, Debra A. Dodd, Bret A. Mettler, Kari A. Wujcik, Justin Godown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many pediatric heart transplant recipients live a significant distance from their transplant center. This results in families either traveling long distances or relying on outside physicians to assume aspects of their care. Distance has been implicated to play a role in congenital heart disease outcomes, but its impact on heart transplantation has not been reported. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of distance on pediatric heart transplant outcomes. Methods: The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database was queried for all pediatric heart transplant recipients from large US children’s hospitals (1987-2014). Patients were stratified into 4 groups (<20, 20-50, 50-100, and >100 miles) based on distance. Survival curves were generated and compared using the log-rank test. Cox proportional hazards regression was performed to adjust for differences between groups. Results: A total of 4768 patients were included in the analysis, of which 1435 (30.1%) were <20 miles, 940 (19.7%) were 20 to 50 miles, 806 (16.9%) were 50 to 100 miles, and 1587 (33.3%) were >100 miles from their transplant center. There was no difference in posttransplant survival based on distance after adjusting for patient age, gender, ethnicity, blood type, diagnosis, listing status, and the need for pretransplant ventricular assist device, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ventilator support. Conclusion: There is no significant difference in graft survival after pediatric heart transplantation based on patient distance from their transplant center. Our data suggest the current strategy of transitioning some aspects of transplant care to local physicians or management from a distance does not increase posttransplant mortality risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-173
Number of pages4
JournalProgress in Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • distance
  • heart transplant
  • pediatric
  • risk factors
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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