Hypercholesterolemia (type II hyperlipidemia) after cardiac transplantation is common and may play a rote in the accelerated rate of coronary atherosclerosis seen following the procedure. However, conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs are either ineffective or contraindicated for use in transplant recipients. The presence of type II hyperlipidemia was identified in 11 cardiac transplant recipients during a mean follow-up period of 15 months (range 3 to 41) after transplantation. Lovastatin, at an initial dosage of 20 mg/day, was administered for a period of 1 year. The maximal dosage of lovastatin was 60 mg/day. All patients received maintenance dosages of immunosuppressive agents, including cyclosporine-A, prednisone and, in some instances, azathioprine. Lipid profiles, hepatic transaminases, serum creatinine, creatine kinase and cyclosporine-A serum trough levels were measured quarterly. Total cholesterol decreased by 27% (354 ± 50 vs 258 ± 36 mg/dl, p < 0.01) after 3 months and remained stable thereafter. Similarly, low density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased by 34% (221 ± 51 vs 146 ± 40 mg/dl, p < 0.01) after 3 months and remained constant. Triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, hepatic transaminases, creatinine, creatine kinase and trough cyclosporine-A levels remained stable during the 1-year follow-up period. Lovastatin was uniformly well tolerated in this study group. When given in modest dosages, lovastatin appears to be a safe, effective and well-tolerated therapy for hypercholesterolemia in cardiac transplant recipients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine