We examined the association of smoking status at time of listing with waitlist mortality among heart transplant (HTx) candidates.
PARTICIPANTS AND DESIGN
Data were analyzed from 316 participants (aged 53 ± 11; 18% female) of the Waiting for a New Heart Study, a prospective observational study of patients newly listed for HTx at 17 hospitals.
During the study period (April 2005 to March 2010), 14% of those who never smoked died, 18% among former smokers died, and almost half (42%) died among those who reported smoking at time of wait listing. Multivariate Cox regression models controlling for age, sex, and disease severity revealed smoking at time of listing was associated with significantly higher risk of mortality compared to never smoking (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.43; P = .03). The relationship between smoking and mortality risk appeared to follow a dose-dependent pattern: adjusted HRs were 1.80 for those who quit ≤1 year ago, 1.25 for those who quit >1 to 10 years ago, and 0.90 for those quit >10 years ago, compared to never smokers. Smoking at time of listing may increase risk of mortality during the waiting period, indicating the need for improved strategies to achieve smoking cessation as early as possible in the course of HTx.