Brief Report|Articles in Press

Comparing Cardiac Mechanics and Myocardial Fibrosis in DBD and DCD Heart Transplant Recipients

Published:December 12, 2022DOI:



      Heart transplantation (HTx) after donation after circulatory death (DCD) is an expanding practice but is associated with increased warm ischemic time. The impact of DCD HTx on cardiac mechanics and myocardial fibrosis has not been reported. We aimed to compare cardiac mechanics and myocardial fibrosis using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging in donation after brain death (DBD) and DCD HTx recipients and healthy controls.

      Methods and Results

      Consecutive HTx recipients between March 2015 and March 2021 who underwent routine surveillance CMR imaging were included. Cardiac mechanics were assessed using CMR feature tracking to compute global longitudinal strain, global circumferential strain, and right ventricular free-wall longitudinal myocardial strain. Fibrosis was assessed using late gadolinium enhancement imaging and estimation of extracellular volume. There were 82 (DBD n = 42, DCD n = 40) HTx recipients (aged 53 years, interquartile range 41–59 years, 24% female) who underwent CMR imaging at median of 9 months (interquartile range 6–14 months) after transplantation. HTx recipients had increased extracellular volume (29.7 ± 3.6%) compared with normal ranges (25.9%, interquartile range 25.4–26.5). Myocardial strain was impaired after transplantation compared with controls (global longitudinal strain –12.6 ± 3.1% vs –17.2 ± 1.8%, P < .0001; global circumferential strain –16.9 ± 3.1% vs –19.2 ± 2.0%, P = .002; right ventricular free-wall longitudinal strain –15.7 ± 4.5% vs –21.6 ± 4.7%, P < .0001). There were no differences in fibrosis burden (extracellular volume 30.6 ± 4.4% vs 29.2 ± 3.2%; P = .39) or cardiac mechanics (global longitudinal strain –13.1 ± 3.0% vs –12.1 ± 3.1%, P = .14; global circumferential strain –17.3 ± 2.9% vs –16.6 ± 3.1%, P = .27; right ventricular free-wall longitudinal strain –15.9 ± 4.9% vs –15.5 ± 4.1%, P = .71) between DCD and DBD HTx.


      HTx recipients have impaired cardiac mechanics compared with controls, with increased myocardial fibrosis. There were no differences in early CMR imaging characteristics between DBD and DCD heart transplants, providing further evidence that DCD and DBD HTx outcomes are comparable.

      Key Words

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