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Gender matters in heart transplants

Heart transplant recipients matched to a donor by gender fare better

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2:53pm, November 12, 2008

NEW ORLEANS — A person who receives a heart transplant from someone of the same gender is more likely to survive the subsequent few years than someone getting a new heart from a donor of the opposite sex, researchers reported November 12 at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions meeting.

“This was something that was speculated” based on smaller studies from single institutions, says surgeon Eric Weiss of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. With the new findings, he says, “we basically supported the hypothesis.”

To do so, he and his colleagues tapped into a nationwide database of every adult heart transplant in the United States from 1998 to 2007—18,240 recipients. The researchers were able to track heart recipients’ progress for 3.4 years on average, with data for some people stretching out over 10 years.

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