Donor-Transmitted Atherosclerosis Associated With Worsening Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy After Heart Transplantation: Serial Volumetric Intravascular Ultrasound Analysis

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Abstract

Background

The influence of preexisting donor-transmitted atherosclerosis (DA) on cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) development remains unclear.

Methods

We performed 3-dimensional intravascular ultrasound (3D-IVUS) analysis in 42 heart transplantation (HTx) recipients at 2.1 ± 0.9 months (baseline) and 12.2 ± 0.4 months post-HTx, as well as consecutive 3D-IVUS analyses up to 3 years post-HTx in 35 of the 42 recipients. Donor-transmitted atherosclerosis was defined as a maximal intimal thickness of 0.5 mm or greater at baseline. Changes in volumetric IVUS parameters were compared in recipients with (DA group) and without DA (DA-free group) at baseline, 1 year, and 3 years post-HTx.

Results

Donor-transmitted atherosclerosis was observed in 57.1% of 42 recipients. The DA group exhibited a significantly greater increase in plaque volume at 1 year post-HTx (P < 0.001), leading to increased percent plaque volume (plaque volume/vessel volume, [%]) (P < 0.001) and decreased luminal volume (P = 0.021). Donor-transmitted atherosclerosis was independently associated with a greater increase in percent plaque volume during the first post-HTx year (P = 0.011). From 1 to 3 years post-HTx, the DA group underwent continuous reduction in luminal volume (P = 0.022). These changes resulted in a higher incidence of angiographic CAV at 3 years post-HTx in the DA group (58.8% vs 5.6%, P = 0.002).

Conclusions

This volumetric IVUS study suggests that DA correlates with the worsening change in CAV several years post-HTx. Donor-transmitted atherosclerosis recipients may require more aggressive treatment to prevent subsequent CAV progression.

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