COVID-19 in heart transplant recipients during February–August 2020: A systematic review

Carlos Enrique Diaz Arocutipa, Darla Carvallo-Castañeda, Odalis Luis-Ybañez, Marcos Pariona, Mercedes Rivas-Lasarte, Jesús Álvarez-García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic represents a major concern in immunosuppressed patients such as heart transplant recipients. Therefore, we performed a systematic review to summarize the clinical features, treatment, and outcomes of heart transplant recipients with COVID-19. We searched electronic databases from inception to January 11, 2021. Thirty-nine articles (22 case reports and 17 cohorts) involving 415 patients were included. The mean age was 59.9 ± 15.7 years and 77% of patients were men. In cohort studies including outpatients and inpatients, the hospitalization rate was 77%. The most common symptoms were fever (70%) and cough (67%). Inflammatory biomarkers (C-reactive protein and procalcitonin) were above the normal range. Forty-eight percent of patients presented with severe or critical COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine (54%), azithromycin (14%), and lopinavir/ritonavir (14%) were the most commonly used drugs. Forty-nine percent of patients discontinued the baseline regimen of antimetabolites. In contrast, 59% and 73% continued the same regimen of calcineurin inhibitors and corticosteroids, respectively. Short-term mortality among cohorts limited to inpatients was 25%. Our review suggests that heart transplant recipients with COVID-19 exhibited similar demographic and clinical features to the general population. However, the prognosis was poor in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14390
Pages (from-to)e14390
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number9
Early online date22 Jun 2021
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • heart transplantation
  • systematic review


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