Chronic heart failure in heart transplant recipients: Presenting features and outcome

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Background The ageing graft frequently shows coronary lesions and a restrictive physiology. Aims To determine the presenting features and outcome of chronic heart failure in heart transplant recipients. Methods In this cohort study, we compared 44 consecutive heart transplant recipients who developed chronic heart failure more than 1 year after heart transplantation with 44 control heart transplant recipients who did not develop heart failure. Results We found that patients who developed heart failure had more frequently a history of hypertension or diabetes before transplantation. During the 12 months after transplantation, significantly more patients had moderate-to-severe acute rejections (≥ grade 2R) in the heart failure group than in the control group. At the time of heart failure diagnosis, systolic left ventricular function was preserved in 50% of patients and coronary angiography was normal or near normal in 36% of patients. Half of the 44 patients in the heart failure group died within 2 years of heart failure diagnosis. Ascites and end-stage renal failure requiring dialysis were significantly more frequent during follow-up in the heart failure group than in the control group (respectively, 10/44 vs 0/44 [P = 0.001] and 18/44 vs 5/44 [P = 0.003]). Conclusion In heart transplant recipients presenting with heart failure, systolic left ventricular function is frequently preserved and coronary angiography is frequently abnormal, but may be normal or near normal. During follow-up, the main features of these patients are a high mortality rate after heart failure diagnosis, a frequent need for renal dialysis and frequent ascites.




Ambrosi, P., Kreitmann, B., Riberi, A., Lambert, M., Pankert, M., & Habib, G. (2016). Chronic heart failure in heart transplant recipients: Presenting features and outcome. Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases, 109(4), 254–259.

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