Immunosuppression impact on long-term cardiovascular complications after liver transplantation

John M. Rabkin, Christopher L. Corless, Hugo R. Rosen, Ali J. Olyaei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Background: With current early transplant patient and allograft survivals nearly optimized, long-term medical complications have become a significant focus for potential improvement in patient outcomes. Cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors have been shown in renal transplant patients to be related to the pharmacologic immunosuppression employed. Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate at 3 years postliver transplant (OLTx) the incidence of hypertension (HTN), hyperlipidemia (HLIP), diabetes mellitus (DM), nephrotoxicity (NTX), and cardiovascular disease (MI, angioplasty, CHF, CVA, and seborth) as well as rejection in two cohorts of liver transplant recipients who received either tacrolimus (FK-506) or cyclosporine (CSA) and to analyze the consequences of these complications on mortality following transplantation. Methods: Eighty-seven sequential patients (CSA: n = 50, mean age 48 years, M/F 32/18; and FK-506: n = 37, mean age 45 years, M/F 22/15) who underwent OLTx between 1994 and 1998, were ≥18 years, and had a minimum of 3 years of complete follow-up were included in the analysis. All OLTx candidates over age 50, who had a history of alcoholic cirrhosis, or had a history of cardiac conditions/events underwent complete cardiac consultation including an echocardiogram with additional cardiac investigation as indicated prior to OLTx. Results: At 3 years following OLTx, the incidence of acute rejection (40% versus 19%, P < 0.05), HTN (62% versus 38%, P < 0.05), HLIP (14% versus 5%, P = 0.08), and cardiovascular disease (18% versus 0%, P < 0.001), were significantly greater for the CSA patients compared with the FK-506 patients. Eight (20%) of the CSA patients who died before 3 years had their death attributed to cardiovascular events versus none in the FK-506 group. Conclusion: Compared with CSA, FK-506 was associated with significantly less rejection and a reduced incidence of HTN and cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-599
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Liver transplantation
  • Nephrotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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