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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2001 August;49(4):229-38


language: Italian

Prevalence of atherosclerosis in renal transplant recipients

Japichino G. G., Bonati L., Rubini P., Capocasale E.


Background. Cardiovascular diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality after kidney transplantation. Renal transplant recipients have in fact accelerated atherosclerosis because of prolonged hemodialysis, arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and other vascular risk factors. Studies concerning carotid and lower limb atherosclerotic changes in renal transplanted patients are at present scant.
Methods. In the present study the prevalence of carotid and iliac-femoro-popliteal atherosclerosis was evaluated by color flow Doppler in 99 patients 64 ± 41 DS months after renal transplantation. Statistical analysis was used to correlate the presence and grade of atherosclerotic lesions with vascular risk factors and other clinical-laboratoristic parameters of the patients.
Results. The overall incidence of atherosclerotic lesions in the population studied was 54.5%; 46.5% of patients presented atherosclerotic plaques at carotid district, 43.4% at lower limb arteries and 35.4% at both districts. Two of these patients were symptomatic; one patient affected by claudicatio intermittens was submitted to conservative therapy, whereas another patient with abdominal aortic aneurysm underwent to surgical treatment. Univariate analysis showed a significant difference between males and females for lower limb atherosclerotic lesions (p=0.0013), whereas no correlation was found between carotid lesions and sex, or between smoke and atherosclerosis. Significant correlations were found by multiple correlations analisys between: the grade of atherosclerotic lesions in both districts and the patient age (p<0.0001); the grade of carotid atherosclerotic plaques and duration of pretransplantation dialysis (p<0.01); the grade of lower limb atherosclerosis and respectively glicemic (p<0.01), hematocrit (p<0.01), potassium (p<0.002) values, systolic blood pressure (p<0.02).
Conclusions. Relevant rates of renal transplant recipients have carotid and peripheral atherosclerotic lesions. The study of aorto-iliac and lower extremity vascular atherosclerosis have important implications for the transplanted kidney functionality. Color flow Doppler represents a sensitive method for the follow-up examination of these patients.

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