Autoimmune and allergic diseases cause morbidity and diminished quality of life in pediatric organ transplant recipients. We hypothesize that younger age at transplantation and immunosuppression regimen play a role in the development of immune-mediated disease following heart transplant. A single institution retrospective review identified all patients undergoing heart transplant at ≤18 yr of age from 1987 to 2010 who survived ≥1 yr. Using medical record and database review, patients were evaluated for development of autoimmune or severe allergic disease. Of 129 patients who met criteria, seven patients (5.4%) with autoimmune or severe atopic disease were identified. Immune-mediated diseases included inflammatory bowel disease (n = 3), eosinophilic esophagitis/colitis (n = 4), and chronic bullous disease of childhood (n = 1). Patients <1 yr of age at transplant were at greater risk of developing autoimmune disease than patients 1-18 yr at transplant (OR = 9.3, 95% CI 1.1-79.2, p = 0.02). All affected patients underwent thymectomy at <1 yr of age (7/71 vs. 0/58, p = 0.02). In our experience, heart transplantation in infancy is associated with the development of immune-mediated gastrointestinal and dermatologic diseases. Further study is needed to determine risk factors for the development of immune-mediated disease to identify best practices to decrease incidence.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.