ISHLT celebrates 20th anniversary of infant cardiac transplantation

Renowned pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Leonard L. Bailey, MD, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, addresses the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) 26th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions in Madrid today. Dr. Bailey will present a "Pioneers in Transplantation Lecture" highlighting 20 years of historic advances in neonatal cardiac transplantation.

Today, nearly 100 infants per year receive heart transplants. Dr. Bailey's hypothesis that infants' immature immune systems would make them more likely to accept transplanted organs than older patients is supported by years of research and studies in pediatric transplantation. The ISHLT Pediatric Registry shows that patients transplanted in early infancy have a significant advantage in long-term survival compared to pediatric patients transplanted at any later age.

Researchers speculate improved infant survival is likely related to the immune advantage suggested by Dr. Bailey and that infants' immunologic immaturity at the time of transplantation allows them to be able to receive donor organs from mismatched blood groups. In contrast to older children and adults, published studies have shown that infants under one year of age can tolerate heart transplants from donors of different blood groups 1, improving the chances of survival for infant candidates and substantially altering the potential donor pool for each individual.

"By expanding the boundaries of therapy for congenital heart disease and stimulating research in cardiac transplantation, Dr. Bailey has become a world leader in pediatric cardiac transplantation," said ISHLT president Mark Barr, M.D. "The ISHLT is honored to host Dr. Bailey as a Pioneer Lecturer this year."

The ISHLT Pioneer Lecture series honors enduring contributions to the field of heart and lung transplantation. Past Pioneer Lecturers include Norman Shumway, M.D. Christian Barnard, M.D. and Joel Cooper M.D

Contact: Melissa Aguillon
International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation

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