Accelerated coronary artery disease is a major cause of mortality in heart transplant recipients; however, it does not appear to play a major role in the clinical outcome of heart-lung transplant recipients. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the incidence and severity of transplant coronary artery disease as detected by intracoronary ultrasound in heart-lung transplant recipients are less than those encountered in heart transplant recipients.We studied the left anterior descending coronary artery with the use of intracoronary ultrasound imaging in 22 heart-lung transplant recipients at the time of their routine annual coronary angiogram. Twenty-two heart transplant recipients were case matched for number of years after transplant at ultrasound study, recipient age, donor age, and diagnosis of nonischemic cardiomyopathy. Mean intimal area, intimal index, Stanford class, and incidence of at least moderate disease (Stanford class > or = 3) were measured and calculated in each group and then compared between the two groups. Mean intimal area (1.6 +/- 2.5 versus 3.8 +/- 2.8 mm2), mean intimal index (0.07 +/- 0.10 versus 0.22 +/- 0.14), mean Stanford class (1.7 +/- 1.0 versus 2.7 +/- 1.2), and incidence of Stanford class > or = 3 (14% versus 45%) were significantly lower in the heart-lung transplant recipient group.The incidence and severity of transplant coronary artery disease are much less in patients receiving heart-lung transplants than in those receiving heart transplants alone.
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