Study reveals high fatality rate among COVID-infected heart transplant recipients

Illustration of the coronavirus showing its round shape covered by spikes.

Heart transplant recipients who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 have a fatality rate of about 25%, much higher than other patient populations, according to a new study.  The findings underscore the importance of close monitoring among heart transplant recipients infected with the virus, the researchers say.

Researchers collected data on the characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of 28 patients who had undergone heart transplantation in a large academic medical center in New York. All the selected participants had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.  The researchers followed them for an 8-week period during the pandemic. Of these patients, 79% were admitted for treatment, 25% needed mechanical ventilation, and 25% of the patients died.

The researchers conclude that heart transplant recipients are at high risk for severe complications from coronavirus and recommend that management of this sensitive population should take place at a transplant center. The study, funded by the NHLBI, appeared in JAMA Cardiology.