Background: Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a major complication after heart transplantation (HT). Uric acid (UA) may play a role in CAV due to its role in stimulating T-cell–mediated immunity. Sirolimus is associated with CAV attenuation through a number of mechanisms, including immune-mediated effects. We aimed to determine whether UA is an independent predictor of CAV and whether conversion to sirolimus as primary immunosuppression modulates UA levels. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 224 patients who underwent HT between 2004 and 2015 and had serial coronary intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) studies. Serum UA levels were measured at baseline and last follow-up IVUS in all participants. CAV progression was assessed by measuring the change in plaque volume (ΔPV) and plaque index (ratio of plaque volume to vessel volume [ΔPI]) between last follow-up and baseline IVUS after correction for time of follow-up. Results: Patients with high (≥7 mg/dl) compared with low (<7 mg/dl) UA had increased median ΔPV (0.33 [interquartile range 0.08 to 0.93] vs 0.07 [–0.17 to 0.38] mm3/mm/year; p < 0.001) and ΔPI (2.0% [0.31% to 3.9%] vs 0.33% [–1.2% to 2.0%]; p < 0.001). Elevated UA levels were associated with a significantly increased risk of developing significant CAV progression (ΔPV >0.50 mm3/mm) (hazard ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 4.6; p = 0.037). Sirolimus resulted in decreased UA levels (5.8 ± 1.4 vs 5.2 ± 1.5; p = 0.002) and patients converted to sirolimus and had low UA levels had the least CAV progression (p < 0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, change in UA level was also an independent predictor of CAV progression. Conclusions: UA is an independent predictor of CAV after HT. Sirolimus is associated with decreased UA levels and may explain one of the mechanisms by which sirolimus attenuates CAV progression.
- cardiac allograft vasculopathy
- coronary intravascular ultrasound
- heart transplantation
- uric acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine