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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Longitudinal study of vascular remodeling in coronary arteries after heart transplantation.

  • Author(s): Kobashigawa, J
  • Wener, L
  • Johnson, J
  • Currier, JW
  • Yeatman, L
  • Cassem, J
  • Tobis, J
  • et al.

Cross-sectional studies by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) in heart transplant recipients have suggested that vascular remodeling occurs in coronary arteries years after transplant. However, no reports describe vascular remodeling in the same cohort of patients studied prospectively using morphometric analysis (10 evenly spaced images obtained from a slow pullback from the left anterior descending coronary artery). Morphometric analysis better reflects total vessel anatomy compared with previously reported site (2 to 3 images) analysis. We reviewed 20 patients studied by IVUS at 2 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years after heart transplant.Over time, the coronary artery luminal area decreased from baseline level of 12.0 mm(2) to a 3-year mark of 9.7 mm(2) (p = 0.02). Vessel shrinkage was seen in 16/20 patients. After an initial rise in intimal parameters (maximal intimal thickness, intimal index, and plaque area) from baseline to 1 year, we found a significant decrease in intimal parameters between Year 1 and Year 3 after transplant. For example, plaque area decreased from 2.05 mm(2) at 1 year post-transplant to 1.48 mm(2) by 3 years post-transplant (p = 0.05). In a majority of heart transplant patients, early intimal thickening in the first year post-transplant is accompanied by constrictive remodeling. Over the subsequent 2 years, further constrictive remodeling is seen despite a decrease in intimal area.

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