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Transplantation. 2003 Aug 27;76(4):679-82.

Diagnostic accuracy of coronary angiography and risk factors for post-heart-transplant cardiac allograft vasculopathy.

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Papworth Hospital NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK.


Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a common cause of death after heart transplantation. Coronary angiography is used to monitor the progress of recipients. Diagnostic accuracy of angiography and risk factors for CAV have not been clearly established. Between August 1979 and January 2002, 566 1-year survivors of heart transplantation underwent 2168 angiograms and were classified as having no CAV (0% stenosis), mild-moderate CAV (up to 70% stenosis), or severe CAV (>70% stenosis). We used serial measurements of stenosis to estimate the diagnostic accuracy of angiography and to assess the following risk factors for CAV onset, progression, and survival: recipient and donor age and sex, preoperative ischemic heart disease (IHD), acute rejection rates, cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, and serologic status. CAV was diagnosed by angiography in 248 of 556 (45%) 1-year survivors, with a mean onset time of 8.6 years. Patients spent a mean of 3.4 years with mild-moderate disease and 3.4 years with severe disease before death. Angiography specificity was 97.8%, and sensitivity was 79.3%. The following variables were found to significantly increase the risk of CAV onset: recipient age relative rate (95% confidence interval) 1.16 (1.01-1.34), donor age by 1.27 (1.13-1.43), male recipient by 2.00 (1.11-2.57), pretransplant IHD by 1.75 (1.30-2.36), cumulative rejection by 1.13 (1.05-1.21), and CMV infection by 1.42 (1.06-1.92). Acute rejection increased risk of death by 1.48 (1.19-1.85). Angiography is highly specific and moderately sensitive for diagnosis of CAV. Risk of CAV onset is related to donor age and recipient history of pretransplant IHD and is further increased by immune-related insults of acute rejection and CMV infection.

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