Heart Transplant

Medical Research

Stanford Hospital's physicians are faculty members at the Stanford School of Medicine, where they are at the forefront of the research that leads to ground-breaking treatments for patients. Stanford clinicians are scientists who regularly contribute to major advancements in their fields. The following research papers have been published by members of Stanford's Heart Transplant Team.

Clinical Research Studies

Clinical research studies are designed to answer specific questions, sometimes about a new drug or medical device's safety and effectiveness. Research studies may be observational studies or clinical trials. Observational studies are those in which information is collected from patients in order to better understand specific conditions (for example, what factors are associated with long-term survival after a heart transplant?) or to develop new tests that can detect rejection or other heart transplant complications in their early stages. Clinical trials are research studies in which patients are assigned, by chance, to a new medication or to placebo (typically a pill or liquid that looks like the study medication but does not have any medicines in it). Clinical trials are done to determine if new treatments are safe and effective in preventing or treating heart transplant complications.

Clinical research studies are done in close collaboration with scientists and physicians from many areas of expertise across Stanford University. To ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for oversight of all studies. You can find information about current clinical trials on the Stanford University Clinical Trial Directory site or at ClinicalTrials.gov.

Below are clinical research studies specifically related to heart transplantation that are currently being conducted at Stanford. Please be aware that studies often have extensive criteria that must be met before enrollment, and you may not be eligible for a given study.

Please feel free to discuss these studies with any member of the Heart Transplant team or contact the Heart Transplant Research Nurse Coordinator, Helen Luikart, RN, MS, at 650 -724-2883.

Clinical Studies in Heart Transplantation

ACE Inhibition and Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this is a clinical trial examining a novel therapy to prevent chronic rejection (graft coronary artery disease) after heart transplantation. We hope to learn more about the role of a class of medications called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in the development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy, a common condition in which the donor coronary arteries develop diffuse narrowing and blockages. This is the leading cause of long-term graft loss after heart transplantation. The study should show whether ACE inhibitors slow down the progression of coronary artery disease in the new heart after transplantation. This study is open to adults and children over the age of 12 years, immediately after heart transplantation.

Genomic Transplant Dynamics (GTD)

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this observational study proposes to develop a non-invasive method to diagnose acute rejection after heart transplantation. We hope to learn whether the transplant donor's DNA can be detected in the blood of heart transplant recipients during episodes of acute rejection. The study is open to all adult and pediatric heart and lung transplant patients before and immediately after transplantation.


Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this is an observational study of a non-invasive method to diagnose acute rejection after heart transplantation. We hope to learn whether measurement of organic compounds in your breath can be used to detect acute rejection. This study is open to adults in the first year after heart transplant.

Prevention of Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy Using Rituximab Therapy in Cardiac Transplantation  2011-2013

Funded by the National Institutes of Health. This study aims to determine the efficacy of Rituximab, an anti B-cell monoclonal antibody, for prevention of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV-chronic rejection) in heart transplant recipients. This study is open to all adult heart transplant recipients immediately after transplant. This study is open to those transplant patients who have less than 10% sensitization, and have a reasonable egfr (well functioning kidneys).

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