Risk factors for the development and progression of dyslipidemia after heart transplantation

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Background. Hyperlipidemia is an important complication after organ transplantation and contributes to the development of posttransplant accelerated coronary artery diseases. Methods. We have retrospectively evaluated the relative contribution of various risk factors associated with the development and progression of hyperlipidemia in 194 heart transplant recipients by the use of mixed effects multiple linear regression analysis. The demographic characteristics evaluated were primary diagnosis of ischemic heart disease (IHD), gender, and age. Postoperative characteristics included number of treated rejections, dosage of cyclosporine (CYA), tacrolimus (TAC), prednisolone and azathioprine, and concentration of serum creatinine and glucose. The effects of administration of antihypertensive agents, diuretics, and lipid lowering agents were also studied. Results. The total cholesterol concentration increased significantly in the first 3 months posttransplant but gradually decreased thereafter. Total cholesterol and the ratio of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (LDL-C/HDL-C) increased to a greater extent in patients with IHD although female transplant recipients had a greater increase in the total cholesterol concentration. Each episode of rejection increased serum cholesterol by 0.306 mmol/liter (0.258, 0.355) [mean (95% C.I.)] and serum triglyceride by 0.164 mmol/liter (0.12, 0.209) although switching to TAC improved total cholesterol and LDL-C/HDL-C. Administration of frusemide, increased the total cholesterol and LDL-C/HDL-C whereas administration of bumetanide or metolazone increased the concentration of serum triglyceride. Serum glucose was associated with hypertriglyceridemia whereas serum creatinine was associated with increases in the total cholesterol, LDL-C/HDL-C and triglyceride. Conclusions. We have identified demographic and postoperative covariables that predispose heart transplant recipients to hyperlipidemia. Some of these risk factors, such as the effect of diuretics, have not been identified before in this group of patients and may be amenable to modification or closer control. TAC rather than CYA may be the immunosuppressive of choice for patients who are at greater risk of developing hyperlipidemia.

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