Abstract AIM: Cardiac transplant vasculopathy is a limit to long-term survival in heart transplantation (H-Tx) recipients. PTCA results in our H-Tx population were retrospectively analyzed. METHODS: From November 1985 to May 2004, 767 patients underwent heart transplantation. All patients received immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine or tacrolimus, azathioprine, steroids and mycophenolate mofetil. Lymphocyte was administrated by 3-7 days course of either rabbit antithymocyte globulins or anti-lymphocyte globulins or by a 14 days course of OKT3. Coronary angiograms were performed every year and more frequently if graft vasculopathy was already diagnosed or suspected. RESULTS: Fifty-two coronary artery lesions were treated during 42 percutaneous transluminal cardioangioplasty (PTCA)/stent procedures in 36 patients. Mean time since heart transplantation to PTCA was 80 +/- 27 months. Indication to PTCA was asymptomatic angiographic graft vasculopathy in 34 patients (94%) and acute myocardial infarction in 2 patients (6%). PTCA was performed on left anterior descending artery in 34 cases (65.4%), on circumflex artery in 10 cases (19.2%), on right coronary artery in 8 cases (15.4%). There were no procedure related deaths. None of the patients required emergency bypass surgery. Two patients had transient acute renal failure. Patient follow-up showed 10 deaths after 1 +/- 54 months from PTCA. Six died for progression of graft vasculopathy, three for cancer and one for gastrointestinal bleeding. Two patients underwent heart retransplantation after 20 and 107 months from the first procedure. Mean follow-up of the remaining patients is 78.3 +/- 50.3 months. CONCLUSION: PTCA may represent a reasonable treatment for graft vasculopathy in selected heart transplant recipients.
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