The man with 2 hearts: 25 years from heterotopic to orthotopic heart transplantation

Elizabeth L. Godfrey, Michael L. Kueht, Abbas Rana, O. H. Frazier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Substantial technological advances in mechanical circulatory support have caused a shift in the management of end-stage heart failure. From the 1970s through the 1990s, heterotopic heart transplantation was routinely performed in patients in whom orthotopic transplantation was likely to fail. Heterotopic heart transplantation is now performed less often because modern mechanical circulatory assist devices are routinely used as bridges to orthotopic transplantation; regardless, the operation has helped numerous patients who would not otherwise have received adequate allografts. We describe the case of a man with idiopathic nonischemic cardiomyopathy who, at age 17, was given an ABO-and size-matched heterotopic allograft that was a complete human leukocyte antigen mismatch. The graft functioned normally for 20 years until the patient had a myocardial infarction that necessitated placement of a coronary artery stent. Subsequent treatments involved many interventions, including insertion of an intra-aortic balloon pump, medical therapy for heart failure, implantation of a total artificial heart, and, ultimately, orthotopic transplantation. To our knowledge, our patient is the longest surviving recipient of a heterotopic heart transplant, with a remarkable 25-year graft survival despite poor histocompatibility and an almost complete lack of native heart function. The strategies used for his treatment make him a living case study that can add valuable information to the history of cardiac support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-202
Number of pages4
JournalTexas Heart Institute Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Follow-up studies
  • Graft survival
  • HLA antigens/analysis
  • Heart failure/surgery
  • Heart trans-plantation/methods/physiol-ogy
  • Heterotopic
  • Reoperation
  • Survival analysis
  • Time factors
  • Transplant recipients
  • Transplantation
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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