BACKGROUND: Survival after pediatric heart transplant has improved over time, as has the incidence of overall rejection. We studied the effect of era on the occurrence and outcome of rejection with hemodynamic compromise (HC). METHODS: Data from 2227 patients who received allografts between 1993 and 2006 at 36 centers in the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study were analyzed to determine incidence, outcome, and risk factors for rejection with HC in early (1993-1999) and recent (2000-2006) eras. Rejection with HC was classified as severe (RSHC) when inotropes were used for circulatory support and mild (RMHC) when inotropes were not used. RESULTS: Of 1217 patients with any episode of rejection, 541 had rejection with HC. Freedom from RMHC improved at 1 year (81% vs 90%, p < 0.001) and at 5 years (74% vs 85%, p < 0.001) in the early vs recent eras, but freedom from RSHC was similar between eras (93% vs 95% at 1 year and 85% vs 87% at 5 years, p = 0.24). Survival after RSHC (63% at 1 year and 49% at 5 years) was worse than after RMHC (87% at 1 year and 72% at 5 years, p < 0.001) and did not change over time. Risk factors for RSHC were non-white race (hazard ratio [HR], 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29-2.32, p < 0.01), older age (HR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.24-6.53; p = 0.01), and non-A blood type (HR, 1.51;, 95% CI, 1.11-2.04,; p = 0.01), but the only risk factor for RMHC was earlier era of transplant (HR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.56-2.41; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of RMHC has declined over time but the same era effect has not occurred with RSHC. Close follow-up after RSHC is crucial because mortality is so high.