Purpose: Retrospective reviews suggest that the progression of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) may be accelerated in heart transplant recipients. This study was undertaken to determine the incidence and to identify those risk factors that may be associated with the development or progression of PVD in these patients. Methods: Between January 1990 and December 1993 a prospective vascular screening protocol including abdominal ultrasonography, Doppler-derived ankle-brachial pressure indexes (ABI), and carotid artery duplex imaging was added to the routine preoperative and annual postoperative evaluation of 239 heart transplant recipients. Results: Thirty-one significant vascular lesions were detected in 10% (24 of 239) of patients 52 ± 9 years of age at a mean of 3.2 years after transplant. The distribution of lesions included carotid artery stenosis (11), femoropopliteal occlusive disease (10), aortoiliac occlusive disease (five), aortic aneurysm (four), and renal artery stenosis in one patient. Revascularization procedures were performed in 12 (50%) patients (carotid endarterectomy (four), aortobifemoral bypass grafting (three), abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (two), transluminal angioplasty (two), splenorenal bypass (one), and femorotibial bypass grafting (one)). One patient with diabetes mellitus (DM) was found to have noncompressible vessels during pretransplant evaluation. An additional 26 patients (11%), seven with DM, had noncompressible vessels in the lower extremities during the follow-up period. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the development of posttransplant PVD was associated with smoking (p < 0.05) and ischemic cardiomyopathy as an indication for transplantation (p < 0.05). The development of noncompressible vessels was associated with younger age (p < 0.05) and the presence of diabetes (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Posttransplant peripheral vascular disease occurred in 10% of heart transplant recipients and is associated with pretransplant ischemic cardiomyopathy and smoking. A previously unrecognized subgroup of patients who have noncompressible vessels after operation is described. If the long-term survival of the heart transplant recipient is to be improved, routine follow-up to identify and treat those patients at greater risk appears justified. (J VASC SURG 1995;22:434-42.).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine