<h4>Purpose of review</h4>Cardiac transplant remains the most effective therapy for children with end-stage heart disease. Outcomes remain better than any alternative therapy for this condition, but its use is limited by donor organ availability. As a result, waitlist times and mortality on the waiting list remain unacceptably high. Novel approaches are necessary to address this problem.<h4>Recent findings</h4>Organ Procurement and Transplant Network/United Network for Organ Sharing readjusted the pediatric heart allocation system in 2016 to prioritize children at highest risk of mortality, encourage judicious listing, and improve appropriate donor organ utilization. Subsequent studies have aligned with these priorities to help risk-stratify patients at the time of listing and identify the importance that should be assigned to donor-specific factors. In addition, many authors are advocating for increased utilization of hearts donated after cardiac death. Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) application has also been increasing to help decrease waitlist mortality. Although results have significantly improved, there remain important limitations to widespread use of VADs in the pediatric population. This has prompted novel techniques such as pulmonary artery banding to improve cardiac function and, in some cases, promote recovery. The demand for cardiac replacement continues to increase with an ageing population of patients with congenital heart disease, presenting new challenges and stressors to the system.<h4>Summary</h4>Pediatric cardiac transplant outcomes are excellent but remain plagued by the limited supply of donor organs. Recent strategies to combat this problem have focused on judicious listing, maximal utilization of available donor organs, and safely extending the lives of patients on the waitlist. New demands on the organ supply chain will continue to stress the system, making these efforts of the highest importance.Clinical Trial Registry Number not applicable.
Curr Opin Organ Transplant (Current opinion in organ transplantation)
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