Having A Big Heart Does Matter
Research conducted by scientists at the University of Maryland and University of Iowa School of Medicine proved that patients receiving heart size too small for their bodies have lower survival rates after the transplant.
Scientists carefully reviewed surgery records of transplant patients and heart donors over a 22 year period to propose new ways of matching up heart transplants and its outcome. Through analysis of heart size matching, gender, body weight and predicted heart mass, the risk of death after transplant is evaluated.
Dr. Robert Reed, one of the study authors, said males who were recipients of women’s heart were in more risk of complication and death due to the size difference of the organ. In fact, there is a 25% chance of death for those who received hearts that are too small for their body size.
However, Dr. Reed emphasized that a person’s weight doesn’t necessarily match his / her heart size, but sex and height do. In general, the female heart is smaller compared to that of a man’s heart with the same body weight.
When a patient receives a heart transplant too small for his / her size, the organ will work harder and strain itself, while growing big in size due to inflammation. Hopefully with this new study, doctors and surgeons can improve heart pairing for lesser risk and complications for patients.
- Robert M. Reed, Giora Netzer, Lawrence Hunsicker, Braxton D. Mitchell, Keshava Rajagopal, Steven Scharf, Michael Eberlein. Cardiac Size and Sex Matching in Heart Transplantation. JACC: Heart Failure, 2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jchf.2013.09.005