Surveillance HeartCare® Outcomes Registry


About this study

The purpose of this study is to assess the clinical utility of surveillance using HeartCare testing services, in association with clinical care of heart transplant recipients.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients who are ≥ 15 years of age at the time of blood draw.
  • Received a heart transplant (primary or repeat).
  • Patients who have HeartCare initiated within 3 months post-transplant.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients who are pregnant at the time of blood draw.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Alfredo Clavell, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Julie Gecox Hanson CCRP

(507) 293-6592

Jacksonville, Fla.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Juan Carlos Leoni Moreno, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Angela Casini MFA

Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

David Steidley, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Julieta Williams

(480) 342-1785

More information


  • Use of new genomic techniques in clinical settings requires that such methods are rigorous and reproducible. Previous studies have shown that quantitation of donor-derived cell-free DNA (%ddcfDNA) by unbiased shotgun sequencing is a sensitive, non-invasive marker of acute rejection after heart transplantation. The primary goal of this study was to assess the reproducibility of %ddcfDNA measurements across technical replicates, manual vs automated platforms, and rejection phenotypes in distinct patient cohorts. Read More on PubMed
  • The use of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a biomarker in transplant recipients offers advantages over invasive tissue biopsy as a quantitative measure for detection of transplant rejection and immunosuppression optimization. However, the fraction of donor-derived cfDNA (dd-cfDNA) in transplant recipient plasma is low and challenging to quantify. Previously reported methods to measure dd-cfDNA require donor and recipient genotyping, which is impractical in clinical settings and adds cost. We developed a targeted next-generation sequencing assay that uses 266 single-nucleotide polymorphisms to accurately quantify dd-cfDNA in transplant recipients without separate genotyping. Analytical performance of the assay was characterized and validated using 1117 samples comprising the National Institute for Standards and Technology Genome in a Bottle human reference genome, independently validated reference materials, and clinical samples. The assay quantifies the fraction of dd-cfDNA in both unrelated and related donor-recipient pairs. The dd-cfDNA assay can reliably measure dd-cfDNA (limit of blank, 0.10%; limit of detection, 0.16%; limit of quantification, 0.20%) across the linear quantifiable range (0.2% to 16%) with across-run CVs of 6.8%. Precision was also evaluated for independently processed clinical sample replicates and is similar to across-run precision. Application of the assay to clinical samples from heart transplant recipients demonstrated increased levels of dd-cfDNA in patients with biopsy-confirmed rejection and decreased levels of dd-cfDNA after successful rejection treatment. This noninvasive clinical-grade sequencing assay can be completed within 3 days, providing the practical turnaround time preferred for transplanted organ surveillance. Read More on PubMed
  • A non-invasive gene-expression profiling (GEP) test for rejection surveillance of heart transplant recipients originated in the USA. A European-based study, Cardiac Allograft Rejection Gene Expression Observational II Study (CARGO II), was conducted to further clinically validate the GEP test performance. Read More on PubMed
  • The endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) is considered the gold standard in rejection surveillance post cardiac transplant, but is invasive, with risk of complications. A previous trial suggested that the gene expression profiling (GEP) blood test was noninferior to EMB between 6 and 60 months post transplant. As most rejections occur in the first 6 months, we conducted a single-center randomized trial of GEP versus EMB starting at 55 days post transplant (when GEP is valid). Read More on PubMed
  • Monitoring allograft health is an important component of posttransplant therapy. Endomyocardial biopsy is the current gold standard for cardiac allograft monitoring but is an expensive and invasive procedure. Proof of principle of a universal, noninvasive diagnostic method based on high-throughput screening of circulating cell-free donor-derived DNA (cfdDNA) was recently demonstrated in a small retrospective cohort. We present the results of a prospective cohort study (65 patients, 565 samples) that tested the utility of cfdDNA in measuring acute rejection after heart transplantation. Circulating cell-free DNA was purified from plasma and sequenced (mean depth, 1.2 giga-base pairs) to quantify the fraction of cfdDNA. Through a comparison with endomyocardial biopsy results, we demonstrate that cfdDNA enables diagnosis of acute rejection after heart transplantation, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.83 and sensitivity and specificity that are comparable to the intrinsic performance of the biopsy itself. This noninvasive genome transplant dynamics approach is a powerful and informative method for routine monitoring of allograft health without incurring the risk, discomfort, and expense of an invasive biopsy. Read More on PubMed
  • Endomyocardial biopsy is the standard method of monitoring for rejection in recipients of a cardiac transplant. However, this procedure is uncomfortable, and there are risks associated with it. Gene-expression profiling of peripheral-blood specimens has been shown to correlate with the results of an endomyocardial biopsy. Read More on PubMed
  • Rejection diagnosis by endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) is invasive, expensive and variable. We investigated gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to discriminate ISHLT grade 0 rejection (quiescence) from moderate/severe rejection (ISHLT > or = 3A). Patients were followed prospectively with blood sampling at post-transplant visits. Biopsies were graded by ISHLT criteria locally and by three independent pathologists blinded to clinical data. Known alloimmune pathways and leukocyte microarrays identified 252 candidate genes for which real-time PCR assays were developed. An 11 gene real-time PCR test was derived from a training set (n = 145 samples, 107 patients) using linear discriminant analysis (LDA), converted into a score (0-40), and validated prospectively in an independent set (n = 63 samples, 63 patients). The test distinguished biopsy-defined moderate/severe rejection from quiescence (p = 0.0018) in the validation set, and had agreement of 84% (95% CI 66% C94%) with grade ISHLT > or = 3A rejection. Patients >1 year post-transplant with scores below 30 (approximately 68% of the study population) are very unlikely to have grade > or = 3A rejection (NPV = 99.6%). Gene expression testing can detect absence of moderate/severe rejection, thus avoiding biopsy in certain clinical settings. Additional clinical experience is needed to establish the role of molecular testing for clinical event prediction and immunosuppression management. Read More on PubMed

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