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A 24 percent drop in the risk of dying in the first 30 days after transplant.
And a 20 percent lower risk of dying after one year.
Why the difference? Doctors are not certain. But Dr. Maryl Johnson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said women who have been pregnant generally have slightly worse outcomes from transplants because their immune systems have been "revved up" from carrying foreign genes from their partners through the fetus.
As for the findings, "it's a huge data set -- I don't think we can disregard it," but the issue needs more study, said Johnson, who heads a UNOS panel that sets policies for heart transplants.
In the meantime, few doctors would advise someone who needs a new heart to pass up one from a donor of the opposite sex.
"Organs are in such scarce supply that it's hard to make a blanket statement," Weiss said. "You're still much better off getting a heart transplant" than waiting and risking your own heart will give out before another becomes available.
On the Net:
Heart meeting: http://www.americanheart.org/
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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