The long-term influence of repetitive cellular cardiac rejections on left ventricular longitudinal myocardial deformation in heart transplant recipients

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The aim of the study was to evaluate the long-term influence of repeated acute cellular rejections on left ventricular longitudinal deformation in heart transplantation (HTX) patients. One hundred and seventy-eight HTX patients were included in the study. Rejections were classified according to the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) classification (0R–3R). Patients were divided into three groups according to rejection scores (RSs). Group 1: <50% of biopsies with 1R rejection and no ≥2R rejections; Group 2: ≥50% of biopsies with 1R rejection or one biopsy with ≥2R rejection; Group 3: ≥Two biopsies with ≥2R rejections. All patients had a comprehensive echocardiographic examination and coronary angiography. We found significantly decreasing global longitudinal strain (GLS) comparing to rejection groups (GLS group 1: −16.8 ± 2.4 (%); GLS group 2: −15.9 ± 3.3 (%); GLS group 3: −14.5 ± 2.9 (%), P = 0.0003). After excluding patients with LVEF < 50% or vasculopathy, GLS was still significantly reduced according to RS groups (P = 0.0096). Total number of 1R and 2R rejections correlated significant to GLS in a linear regression model. In contrast, we found fractional shortening and LVEF to be unaffected by repeated rejections. In conclusion, repeated cardiac rejections lead to impaired graft function as detected by decreasing magnitude of GLS. In contrast, traditional systolic graft function surveillance by LVEF did not correlate to rejection burden.

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