BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has significantly impacted the healthcare landscape
in the United States in a variety of ways including a nation-wide
reduction in operative volume. The impact of COVID-19 on the
availability of donor organs and the impact on solid organ transplant
remains unclear. We examine the impact of COVID-19 on a single,
large-volume heart transplant program. METHODS: A retrospective chart
review was performed examining all adult heart transplants performed at
a single institution between March 2020 and June 2020. This was compared
to the same time frame in 2019. We examined incidence of primary graft
dysfunction (PGD), continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) and
30-day survival. RESULTS: From March-June 2020, 43 orthotopic heart
transplants were performed compared to 31 performed during 2019. Donor
and recipient demographics demonstrated no differences. There was no
difference in 30-day survival. There was a statistically significant
difference in incidence of post-operative CRRT (9/31 v. 3/43; p = .01).
There was a statistically significant difference in race (23W/8B/1AA v.
30W/13B; P=.029). CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that a single, large-volume
transplant program was able to grow volume with little difference in
donor variables and clinical outcomes following transplant. While
multiple reasons are possible, most likely the reduction of volume at
other programs allowed us to utilize organs to which we would not have
previously had access. More significantly, our growth in volume was
coupled with no instances of COVID-19 infection or transmission amongst
patients or staff due to an aggressive testing and surveillance program.