Platelet aggregation and HDL cholesterol are predictive of acute coronary events in heart transplant recipients.
BACKGROUND Sudden death (SD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are the main complications limiting long-term survival after heart transplantation (HT). They are unpredictable and, at present, unpreventable. Platelet aggregation (PA) has recently emerged as a significant prognostic indicator in nontransplanted coronary disease patients. The main purpose of the present study was to evaluate to what extent PA could predict SD and AMI in long-term survivors of HT independently of serum lipid levels.
METHODS AND RESULTS We studied 207 patients. All received triple immunosuppressive therapy. During follow-up, the incidence of SD and AMI was determined, and the independent role of PA as predictor was evaluated with other usual risk factors by a Cox multivariate regression model. There were 11 SDs and 14 AMIs after an average follow-up of 642 days, giving an average incidence rate of 7.3 events per year per hundred patients. By univariate analysis, the most potent predictors were ADP-induced platelet aggregation (positive association) and total cholesterol (negative association). Age and length of time since transplant were not predictors. By multivariate analysis, only the secondary wave of ADP-induced platelet aggregation (P = .001) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = .03) were independent predictors. The relative risk of SD or AMI based on a comparison between patients with high (> 36%) or low (< 36%) ADP-induced platelet aggregation was 4.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 9.5, P = .0001).
CONCLUSIONS This study provides the first demonstration of an association between increased platelet aggregation and subsequent SD or AMI in HT recipients. It suggests that platelets and thrombosis also are implicated in the pathogenesis of AMI and SD in HT recipients. Identification of a safe and effective antiplatelet therapy should be actively pursued.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association