• Between February 1984 and May 1988, 55 patients underwent orthotopic cardiac transplantation at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass. Basic immunosuppression was accomplished with steroid and cyclosporine therapies. Twelve patients suffered 14 major complications, including perforated ulcer in 3 patients; pancreatitis in 3 patients; pneumatosis coli in 2 patients; and cholecystitis, colonic necrosis, appendicitis, incarcerated umbilical hernia, pancreatic abscess, and toxic epidermal necrolysis in 1 patient each. Aggressive management of the patients included laparotomy in all but 2 patients with mild pancreatitis and the patient with toxic epidermal necrolysis, who was treated as a patient with a severe burn. In all of the patients, there was a resolution of these complications, except in one 59-year-old man with fatal hemorrhagic pancreatitis. Eleven of the 14 complications occurred during the initial hospitalization. The fatal case of pancreatitis was 1 of 5 (9%) operative mortalities in the entire series. Fifty operative survivors have been followed up for an average of 19 months, with four late deaths (8%) related to rejection. The actuarial probability of survival in patients discharged from the hospital was 90% at 12, 24, and 48 months.
(Arch Surg. 1989;124:539-541)