Intravascular ultrasound evidence of angiographically silent progression in coronary atherosclerosis predicts long-term morbidity and mortality after cardiac transplantation

E. Murat Tuzcu*, Samir R. Kapadia, Ravish Sachar, Khaled M. Ziada, Timothy D. Crowe, Jingyuan Feng, William A. Magyar, Robert E. Hobbs, Randall C. Starling, James B. Young, Patrick McCarthy, Steven E. Nissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine whether angiographically silent early coronary intimal thickening could predict long-term morbidity and mortality. BACKGROUND: Although intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is widely used to detect early transplant coronary disease, its prognostic significance has not been well defined. METHODS: The study cohort consisted of 143 patients who underwent early multivessel (2.1 ± 0.7 arteries/patient) IVUS examination 1.0 ± 0.5 month and 12.0 ± 1.0 month after transplantation. The change in intimal thickness was evaluated using paired analysis of 1,069 matched sites. Rapidly progressive vasculopathy was defined as the change in intimal thickness ≥0.5 mm. Patients were followed for a primary end point of all-cause mortality and a secondary composite end point of mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI). Angiographic disease, defined as any ≥50% diameter stenosis, was assessed in 126 patients. RESULTS: Intravascular ultrasound at one year demonstrated rapid progression in 54 (37%) of 143 patients and new lesions in 67 (47%) of 143 of patients. At a mean clinical follow-up of 5.9 years, more patients with rapidly progressive vasculopathy died, as compared with those without (26% vs. 11%, p = 0.03). Death and MI also occurred more frequently among those with rapid progression than in those without it (51% vs. 16%, p < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in outcome in patients with and without donor-transmitted lesions. Angiographic disease was found in 11 (22%) of 50 patients with and in 2 (2.1%) of 76 patients without (p = 0.003) rapidly progressive vasculopathy. The IVUS-defined rapid progression correlated highly with future development of angiographic disease (p = 0.0005). CONCLUSIONS: Rapidly progressive vasculopathy by IVUS, defined as an increase of ≥0.5 mm in intimal thickness within the first year after transplantation, is a powerful predictor of all-cause mortality, MI, and angiographic abnormalities. Accordingly, such patients may be candidates for more aggressive anti-atherosclerotic and/or immunosuppressive therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1538-1542
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 3 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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