Clinical practice patterns are relatively uniform between pediatric heart transplant centers: A survey-based assessment

Castleberry, C.; Ziniel, S.; Almond, C.; Auerbach, S.; Hollander, S. A.; Lal, A. K.; Fenton, M.; Pahl, E.; Rossano, J. W.; Everitt, M. D.; Daly, K. P.

Pediatr Transplant. 2017 Jul 4; 21(5)

Abstract

Clinical practice variations are a barrier to the study of pediatric heart transplants and coordination of multicenter RCTs in this patient population. We surveyed centers to describe practice patterns, understand areas of variation, and willingness to modify protocol. Pediatric heart transplant centers were identified, and one survey was completed per center. Simple descriptive statistics were used. The response rate was 77% (40 responses from 52 contacted centers, 37 with complete responses). Median center volume of respondents was eight transplants/year (IQR 3-19). Most centers reported tacrolimus (36/38, 95%) and mycophenolate mofetil (36/38, 95%) as maintenance immunosuppression. Other immunosuppression agents reported were cyclosporine (7/38, 18%), everolimus or sirolimus (3/38, 8%), and azathioprine (2/38, 5%). Overall, respondents answered similarly for questions regarding clinical practices including induction therapy, maintenance immunosuppression, and rejection treatment threshold (>85% agreement for all). Additionally, willingness to change clinical practices was over 70% for all practices surveyed (35 total respondents), and 97% of centers (36/37) were willing to participate in a RCT of maintenance immunosuppression. In conclusion, we found many similar clinical practice protocols. Most centers are willing to collaborate on a common protocol in order to participate in a RCT and support a trial investigating maintenance immunosuppression.

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