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Rivista di Chirurgia Cardiaca, Vascolare e Toracica

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2005 June;46(3):267-71

lingua: Inglese

Carotid endarterectomy in heart transplant patients

Porcellini M. 1, D’Armiento F. P. 2, Di Lella D. 1, Carbone F. 1, Russo A. 1, Mignogna C. 2, Bracale U. M. 1, Del Guercio L. 1

1 Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Medical School Federico II University, Naples, Italy
2 Department of Pathology, Medical School Federico II University, Naples, Italy


Aim. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical outcome of carotid endarterectomy in heart transplant recipients and morphologic features of atherosclerotic plaques removed during operation.
Methods. Between April 1993 and October 2001 5 heart transplant patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis >70% underwent carotid endarterectomy with regional anesthesia, including a staged bilateral procedure in one patient. Cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol were evaluated in each patient. The plaques ( n=6) underwent histologic analysis after carotid endarterectomy. Carotid artery duplex imaging was added to the routine postoperative evaluation.
Results. Carotid plaques resulted to be echolucent on B-mode ultrasound examination. Cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol levels were found to be increased, while HDL-cholesterol were decreased. All patients underwent successful carotid endarterectomy; there were no perioperative deaths, major neurologic or cardiac events. The mean lenght of stay was 2.2 days. The mean follow-up was 44 months. In 1 case, an asymptomatic restenosis >50% occurred 9 months later and, in 2 other cases, a contralateral mild stenosis was found 12 and 36 months later. One patient had a progressive contralateral stenosis, requiring operation 18 months later. High lipid content and heterogenous cellular infiltration were observed, including macrophages, T-lymphocytes, neutrophils, and also eosinophils in the rapidly progressing plaque.
Conclusion. Heart transplant patients receiving immunosuppression may successfully undergo carotid endarterectomy, without increased risk, but progression of atherosclerotic disease in the carotid arteries seems to continue, despite lipid-lowering regimen and antiplatelet therapy.

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