Selection and Interpretation of Molecular Diagnostics in Heart TransplantationJason F. Goldberg, Lauren K. Truby, Sean Agbor-Enoh, Annette M. Jackson, Christopher R. deFilippi, Kiran K. Khush, Palak Shah
- Physiology (medical)
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
The number of heart transplants performed annually in the United States and worldwide continues to increase, but there has been little change in graft longevity and patient survival over the past 2 decades. The reference standard for diagnosis of acute cellular and antibody-mediated rejection includes histologic and immunofluorescence evaluation of endomyocardial biopsy samples, despite invasiveness and high interrater variability for grading histologic rejection. Circulating biomarkers and molecular diagnostics have shown substantial predictive value in rejection monitoring, and emerging data support their use in diagnosing other posttransplant complications. The use of genomic (cell-free DNA), transcriptomic (mRNA and microRNA profiling), and proteomic (protein expression quantitation) methodologies in diagnosis of these posttransplant outcomes has been evaluated with varying levels of evidence. In parallel, growing knowledge about the genetically mediated immune response leading to rejection (immunogenetics) has enhanced understanding of antibody-mediated rejection, associated graft dysfunction, and death. Antibodies to donor human leukocyte antigens and the technology available to evaluate these antibodies continues to evolve. This review aims to provide an overview of biomarker and immunologic tests used to diagnose posttransplant complications. This includes a discussion of pediatric heart transplantation and the disparate rates of rejection and death experienced by Black patients receiving a heart transplant. This review describes diagnostic modalities that are available and used after transplant and the landscape of future investigations needed to enhance patient outcomes after heart transplantation.