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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm in Heart Transplant Recipients: New Insights from a 30-year Experience at a Single Center

      Background

      The improvement in survival rates for heart transplant recipients (HTRs) has increased their risk of developing extracardiac diseases such as abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). The purposes of this study were to evaluate the prevalence and to describe the clinical features and natural history of AAA in HTRs.

      Methods

      A retrospective review of all patients (375) who underwent heart transplantation (HT) at our center over a 32-year period (1983–2015) was carried out.

      Results

      We identified 20 patients (5.3%) with AAA. All but one patient were male (95%), and most of them (80%) had a history of ischemic heart disease (IHD) prior to transplantation. The mean age of the patients with AAA at transplant was 57.2 ± 7.3 years (range: 42–62 years). Seven of the 20 patients with AAA already had an AAA (30–55 mm) prior to transplantation. The average aneurysm size at the time of diagnosis was 40.9 ± 9.6 mm, and the average patient age at the time of diagnosis was 62.2 ± 8.3 years. The mean linear expansion rate was 10.6 ± 2.12 mm/y, and the exponential expansion rate was 0.220 ± 0.040 year−1, respectively. The median follow-up time was 5.4 years (range 0.1–27.4 years). The median survival was 143 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 65 to 180 months) for the 20 HTRs with AAA and 68.8 months (95% CI 46 to 88 months) for the other HTRs.

      Conclusions

      The natural history of AAA in HTR is characterized by an increased expansion rate. Male HTR with end-stage IHD are particularly at risk and should be closely followed-up after HT.
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