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Ann Card Anaesth


The life expectancy of patients with end-stage heart disease undergoing Orthotopic Heart Transplantation (OHT) has increased significantly in the recent decades since its original introduction into the medical practice in 1967. Substantial advances in post-operative intensive care, surgical prophylaxis, and anti-rejection drugs have clearly impacted survivability after OHT, therefore the volume of patients presenting for non-cardiac surgical procedures is expected to continue to escalate in the upcoming years. There are a number of caveats associated with this upsurge of post-OHT patients requiring non-cardiac surgery, including presenting to healthcare facilities without the resources and technology necessary to manage potential perioperative complications or that may not be familiar with the care of these patients, facilities in which a cardiac anesthesiologist is not available, patients presenting for emergency procedures and so forth. The perioperative care of patients after OHT introduces several challenges to the anesthesiologist including preoperative risk assessments different to the general population and intraoperative management of a denervated organ with altered response to medications and drug-drug interactions. The present review aims to synopsize current data of patients presenting for non-cardiac surgery after OHT, surgical aspects of the transplant that may impact perioperative care, physiology of the transplanted heart as well as anesthetic considerations.

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