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Medicine (Baltimore). 1994 Jul;73(4):215-23.

Hyperlipidemia in renal transplant recipients: natural history and response to treatment.

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  • 1Department of Renal Medicine, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


The lipid profiles of 192 patients with functioning renal transplants and their etiologic associations and response to therapy, in particular simvastatin, were assessed. Hypercholesterolemia was present in 71.3% of patients within 3 years following transplantation. There were independent associations of serum cholesterol with prednisone dosage (p < 0.05), renal function (p < 0.05), and smoking (p < 0.05) in the early posttransplant period (up to 3 months posttransplant). Those patients whose immunosuppression included cyclosporin had lower serum cholesterol levels than those receiving azathioprine and prednisone (p < 0.02). Plasma triglyceride levels reflected a marked interindividual variation, and no independent correlations were observed. The presence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension (or the use of antihypertensive agents), or the form or duration of prior dialysis did not independently influence the lipid profiles. During the study period 22 patients died, 54.5% due to vascular causes. Those who died of vascular causes had higher serum cholesterol levels than those who died of other causes, which reached statistical significance at 3 years posttransplant (7.74 +/- 0.4 versus 5.5 +/- 0.52 mmol/L; p < 0.02). Cholestyramine was introduced in 30 patients, only 2 of whom continued with therapy beyond 3 months. Simvastatin was used in 43 patients, 20 of whom were receiving cyclosporin, resulting in a mean reduction in serum cholesterol of 16.5% (p < 0.001) and in serum triglycerides of 21% (p < 0.05). No clinical or biochemical evidence of muscle, liver, or renal toxicity occurred in 15.4 +/- 0.9 months of follow-up.

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