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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2011 Oct;30(10):1153-60. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2011.04.012. Epub 2011 May 31.

Cardiac allograft hypertrophy is associated with impaired exercise tolerance after heart transplantation.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exercise performance, an important aspect of quality of life, remains limited after heart transplantation (HTx). This study examines the effect of cardiac allograft remodeling on functional capacity after HTx.

METHODS:

The total cohort of 117 HTx recipients, based on echocardiographic determination of left ventricle mass and relative wall thickness at 1 year after HTx, was divided into 3 groups: (1) NG, normal geometry; (2) CR, concentric remodeling; and (3) CH, concentric hypertrophy. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing was performed 5.03 ± 3.08 years after HTx in all patients. Patients with acute rejection or significant graft vasculopathy were excluded.

RESULTS:

At 1 year post-HTx, 30% of patients had CH, 55% had CR and 15% had NG. Exercise tolerance, measured by maximum achieved metabolic equivalents (4.62 ± 1.44 vs 5.52 ± 0.96 kcal/kg/h), normalized peak Vo(2) (52 ± 14% vs 63 ± 12%) and Ve/Vco(2) (41 ± 17 vs 34 ± 6), was impaired in the CH group compared with the NG group. A peak Vo(2) ≤14 ml/kg/min was found in 6%, 22% and 48% of patients in the NG, CR and CH groups, respectively (p = 0.01). The CH pattern was associated with a 7.4-fold increase in relative risk for a peak Vo(2) ≤14 ml/kg/min compared with NG patients (95% confidence interval 1.1 to 51.9, p = 0.001). After multivariate analysis, a 1-year CH pattern was independently associated with a reduced normalized peak Vo(2) (p = 0.018) and an elevated Ve/Vco(2) (p = 0.035).

CONCLUSIONS:

The presence of CH at 1 year after HTx is independently associated with decreased normalized peak Vo(2) and increased ventilatory response in stable heart transplant recipients. The identification of CH, a potentially reversible mechanism of impairment in exercise capacity after HTx, may have major clinical implications.

Copyright © 2011 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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