Everolimus immunosuppression for renal protection, reduction of allograft vasculopathy and prevention of allograft rejection in de-novo heart transplant recipients: could we have it all?

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Purpose of review

De-novo introduction of everolimus (Eve) in heart transplant recipients opens for early reduction of calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) and potential of preserving renal function, attenuate progression of coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV) and maintain rejection efficacy.

Recent findings

The first trials demonstrated adequate rejection prophylaxis and favorable outcomes on CAV, but observed enhanced nephrotoxicity because of insufficient CNI reduction. The SCHEDULE trial compared de-novo Eve with significantly reduced CNI exposure and conversion to CNI-free treatment week 7–11 postheart transplant, with standard CNI immunosuppression. Improved renal function and attenuation of CAV was found among Eve patients, with higher numbers of treated acute rejections observed. With sustained superior renal and CAV related data also after 36 months with the Eve protocol, cardiac function was equally well preserved in both groups. According to the International Society of Heart and Lunge Transplantation registry, mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor treatment is uncommon during the first postoperative year, with a prevalence of 20% in patients after 5 years.


Current evidence suggests a greater benefit from these immunosuppressives if introduced at an earlier timepoint. Immunosuppressive protocols based on Eve treatment in de-novo patients should be further investigated and developed, enabling CNI avoidance before accelerating side-effects lead to irreversible damage.

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