Objectives: Hyperlipidemia due to standard immunosuppressive agents occurs commonly following solid organ transplantation. A decision to treat hyperlipidemias would be based on the assumption that such disorders lead to accelerated atherogenesis and ultimately to cardiac dysfunction. We therefore sought to examine whether hyperlipidemias following lung transplantation were associated with a decline in left ventricular (LV) function.
Study design: We retrospectively reviewed serial echocardiograms, radionucleotide angiograms (RNAs), and serum lipid levels following lung transplantation. Results of cardiac studies were defined as abnormal if a decline in LV grade occurred from the best result at any time postoperatively to the most recent study.
Patients: A total of 184 patients with transplants between November 1983 and June 1995 were reviewed. Eighty patients were excluded owing to incomplete data. One patient was excluded because of severe perioperative myocardial dysfunction.
Results: Approximately 80% of patients had elevated cholesterol levels and 60% had elevated low-density lipoprotein levels. Triglyceride levels were raised in 34% of patients while only 4% had an abnormal serum high-density lipoprotein level. More than 80% of patients had no evidence of LV abnormalities in either RNA or echocardiographic studies (group 1). One patient had a change in echocardiographic LV function but no change in grade of RNA (group 2). Twenty patients had a decline in grade based on RNA but no change in the echocardiogram (group 3). There were no patients with changes in both RNA and echocardiogram (group 4). All changes in LV function were from grade I to II. The mean period of follow-up exceeded 30 months for patients in groups 1 to 3. Follow-up data at 3, 4, and 5 years were available on 47, 23, and 12 patients, respectively. There were no differences between the proportions of subjects with normal and abnormal serum lipid levels in each group.
Conclusions: In the initial 5 years after lung transplantation, dyslipidemias affect the majority of patients but are not associated with evidence of deteriorating LV function.