Graft vascular disease after cardiac transplantation and its relationship to mean acute rejection score.
CONTEXT: Graft vascular disease remains a significant source of morbidity and mortality in heart transplant patients. The influence of acute cellular rejection on the development of graft vascular disease is controversial. OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between mean acute cellular rejection score and the presence of atherosclerosis or fibrointimal hyperplasia in cardiac allografts at autopsy. DESIGN: This retrospective, autopsy-based study examined 27 heart transplant patients to evaluate for graft vascular disease. A rejection score for each patient was calculated as the average of all the rejection scores determined by endomyocardial biopsy. Gross and histologic examination of the heart was used to divide patients into 3 groups: no coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, and fibrointimal hyperplasia. Mean rejection scores were calculated for each of these groups for all patients and patients who survived longer than 3 months. Mean rejection scores were compared by an analysis of variance and pairwise t tests. RESULTS: Mean rejection scores demonstrated a trend of increasing value from no coronary disease (0.323) to atherosclerosis (0.569) to fibrointimal hyperplasia (0.835). Only fibrointimal hyperplasia had a significantly higher mean rejection score compared with patients with no coronary disease when examined in all patients (P = .01) and in patients who survived longer than 3 months (P = .049). CONCLUSION: This study showed that the development of coronary artery fibrointimal hyperplasia, but not atherosclerosis, was significantly related to mean acute rejection score.
Alexander, RT; Lathrop, S; Vollmer, R; Blue, L; Russell, SD; Steenbergen, C
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