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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Aug;36(2):509-16.

Plasma atherogenic markers in congestive heart failure and posttransplant (heart) patients.

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The Heart and Lung Institute, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine and Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.



We hypothesized that plasma factors important for the development of atherosclerosis play a major role in the occurrence of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV).


Cardiac allograft vasculopathy is a major cause of death among heart transplant recipients, has a poorly understood pathogenesis and has similarities to atherosclerotic coronary disease.


The study population consisted of 93 postcardiac transplant recipients. Thirty-one patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and 18 healthy individuals served as control subjects. Posttransplant coronary anatomy was evaluated by angiography and intravascular ultrasound. Laboratory analyses of lipids, homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folate, fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor antigen (vWFAg) and renin were obtained on all participants.


Posttransplant patients were found to have elevated serum triglycerides, total cholesterol/ high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio, lipoprotein (a), homocysteine, vWFAg, fibrinogen and renin and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Most of these laboratory atherogenic factors were also elevated to a similar degree in the CHF control population. Although most atherogenic markers were elevated, there was little correlation with CAV severity. Cardiac allograft vasculopathy severity varied with time after transplantation, 3-hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitor use and prior cytomegalovirus infection. Even within the normal range, lower RBC folate levels were associated with increased severity of CAV.


The posttransplant course is associated with increased clinical and laboratory atherogenic factors, some of which likely contribute to the severity of coronary vasculopathy. Compared with normal control subjects, many of these markers are already increased in pretransplant CHF patients with or without occlusive coronary artery disease.

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