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J Heart Lung Transplant. 1991 Jan-Feb;10(1 Pt 1):45-9.

Hypercholesterolemia in long-term survivors of heart transplantation: an early marker of accelerated coronary artery disease.

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  • 1Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.


Coronary artery disease remains a significant long-term problem for survival after heart transplantation. Hyperlipidemia is a known risk factor for coronary artery disease in the general population, but the role of hyperlipidemia in cardiac allograft recipients has not been elucidated. To study this problem, we retrospectively reviewed 38 heart transplant recipients who survived more than 3 years after surgery and looked at age, development of diabetes, drug protocol, and development of hypercholesterolemia for a possible correlative or predictive value to the development of early coronary artery disease after heart transplantation. Eleven patients were identified as having coronary disease by the third year after transplantation. High-risk cholesterol values (in milligrams per deciliter) at 6 months after heart transplantation were defined as follows: for ages 10 to 20, 190; 20 to 30, 220; 30 to 40, 240; 40+, 260. We found a strong predictive value with high-risk lipid profiles (p less than 0.01) for the development of coronary artery disease by the third year. No significance was found for a low-risk value, the development of diabetes, or hypertension. All patients below the age of 20 years had coronary artery disease by the third year after transplantation. We conclude that a high-risk cholesterol value at 6 months after transplantation is a strong predictor for development of accelerated coronary artery disease and early graft failure. This has major implications for management of hyperlipidemia in the cardiac allograft recipient.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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