Impact of pre-implant amiodarone exposure on outcomes in cardiac transplant recipients

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Heart failure reviews


Amiodarone remains one of the preferred antiarrhythmic medications for patients with advanced heart failure awaiting cardiac transplant. However, the long half-life and rapid redistribution of this agent into donor myocardium expose heart transplant recipients to potential adverse outcomes. In reviewing the current body of literature, we found that pre-operative amiodarone exposure can increase the risk of bradycardia post-transplant; however, this is unlikely to require permanent pacemaker implant. Further, amiodarone has several serious drug-drug interactions with calcineurin inhibitors. Clinicians should therefore consider empiric reduction in initial dosing for tacrolimus or cyclosporine, and carefully monitor blood levels for at least 3 months post-transplant. Although the evidence is conflicting, amiodarone exposure pre-operatively may increase the risk of early graft failure and mortality. Amiodarone use should be minimized whenever possible; if amiodarone cannot practically be discontinued in the pre-transplant phase, judicious monitoring for QTc prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia should be implemented after transplant. As most of the studies included in this review suffered from small sample sizes and limited follow-up, additional research in this area is warranted.

Medical Subject Headings

Amiodarone; Anti-Arrhythmia Agents; Biological Availability; Bradycardia; Drug Interactions; Heart Failure; Heart Transplantation; Humans; Immunosuppressive Agents; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Postoperative Complications; Preoperative Care; Severity of Illness Index; Transplants

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