Heart transplantation immunosuppressive therapy

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Editor(s)-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D.; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [1]Ifrah Fatima, M.B.B.S[2]


Post cardiac transplantation, medical therapy with immunosuppressive drugs is essential to prevent both acute and chronic rejection. Immunosuppressive therapy is given in two phases- Induction therapy and Maintenance therapy. The drugs used include different combinations of drugs like IL-2 Receptor antagonists, Anti-thymocyte antibodies, calcineurin inhibitor, anti-metabolite, glucocorticoids, mammalian target of rapamycin [m-TOR] inhibitors, proliferation signal inhibitors and monoclonal Antibody OKT3.

Medical Therapy

  • Immunosuppressive medical therapy is recommended in patients after undergoing cardiac transplantation.
  • Pharmacologic medical therapies or Post-transplantation immunosuppressive therapy includes two stages-

Even though regimens vary from center to center and case to case, most regimens consist of 2-3 drugs, usually including- [2] [3]

Induction Therapy

Maintenance Therapy


  1. Chambers, Daniel C.; Yusen, Roger D.; Cherikh, Wida S.; Goldfarb, Samuel B.; Kucheryavaya, Anna Y.; Khusch, Kiran; Levvey, Bronwyn J.; Lund, Lars H.; Meiser, Bruno; Rossano, Joseph W.; Stehlik, Josef (2017). "The Registry of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation: Thirty-fourth Adult Lung And Heart-Lung Transplantation Report—2017; Focus Theme: Allograft ischemic time". The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. 36 (10): 1047–1059. doi:10.1016/j.healun.2017.07.016. ISSN 1053-2498.
  2. . doi:10.1016/j.healun.2017.07.019. Check |doi= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Söderlund, Carl; Rådegran, Göran (2015). "Immunosuppressive therapies after heart transplantation — The balance between under- and over-immunosuppression". Transplantation Reviews. 29 (3): 181–189. doi:10.1016/j.trre.2015.02.005. ISSN 0955-470X.
  4. Penninga, Luit; Møller, Christian H; Gustafsson, Finn; Gluud, Christian; Steinbrüchel, Daniel A (2013). "Immunosuppressive T-cell antibody induction for heart transplant recipients". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008842.pub2. ISSN 1465-1858.
  5. Yamani MH, Taylor DO, Czerr J, Haire C, Kring R, Zhou L; et al. (2008). "Thymoglobulin induction and steroid avoidance in cardiac transplantation: results of a prospective, randomized, controlled study". Clin Transplant. 22 (1): 76–81. PMID 18251036.
  6. Herrero, María José; Megías, Juan Eduardo; Bosó, Virginia; Ruiz, Jesús; Rojas, Luis; Sánchez-Lázaro, Ignacio; Amenar, Luis; Hernández, Julio; Poveda, José Luis; Pastor, Amparo; Solé, Amparo; López-Andújar, Rafael; Aliño, Salvador F. (2016). "Pharmacogenetics of Immunosuppressants in Solid Organ Transplantation: Time to Implement in the Clinic". doi:10.5772/63071.
  7. Swinnen, Lode J.; Costanzo-Nordin, Maria R.; Fisher, Susan G.; O'Sullivan, E. Jeanne; Johnson, Maryl R.; Heroux, Alain L.; Dizikes, George J.; Pifarre, Roque; Fisher, Richard I. (1990). "Increased Incidence of Lymphoproliferative Disorder after Immunosuppression with the Monoclonal Antibody OKT3 in Cardiac-Transplant Recipients". New England Journal of Medicine. 323 (25): 1723–1728. doi:10.1056/NEJM199012203232502. ISSN 0028-4793.

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