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Atherosclerosis. 1999 Feb;142(2):243-63.

Heart allograft vascular disease: an obliterative vascular disease in transplanted hearts.

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  • Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, R. Gentofte University Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark.


More than 30 years have passed since the first human heart transplantation was performed. Since then, short-term survival after heart transplantation has been markedly improved, but this development has not been paralleled with a similar improvement in long-term survival. One of the major reasons for this is the subsequent development of heart allograft vascular disease, an obliterative disease in the coronary arteries of the transplanted heart. The dubious effect of re-vascularization in this disease, the less favorable outcome after repeat heart transplantation, and the low donor supply have called for intensified research for new and efficient prophylactic therapies against heart allograft vascular disease. This research has lead to improved knowledge about diagnosis, etiology, pathogenesis, prophylaxis, and treatment possibilities. The most important among these seem to be: (i) the introduction of intravascular ultrasound for early detection of the disease; (ii) evidence to suggest that hyperlipidemia, insufficient immunosuppressive therapy, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-mismatch, and infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) all may promote allografts vascular disease; and (iii) the introduction of at least two promising prophylactic therapies in humans namely 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors and calcium entry blockers, and others potentially promising e.g. angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitors, angiopeptin, mycophenolate mofetil and rapamycin. This review summarizes present knowledge on the possibilities of inhibiting or treating heart allograft vascular disease incorporating evidence from both human and experimental studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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