This study investigated the relationship between periarterial neovascularization, development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV), and long-term clinical outcomes after heart transplantation. Proliferation of the vasa vasorum is associated with arterial inflammation. The contribution of angiogenesis to the development of CAV has been suggested.Serial (baseline and 1-year post-transplant) intravascular ultrasound was performed in 102 heart transplant recipients. Periarterial small vessels (PSV) were defined as echolucent luminal structures <1 mm in diameter, located =2 mm outside of the external elastic membrane. The signal void structures were excluded when they connected to the coronary lumen (considered as side branches) or could not be followed in =3 contiguous frames. The number of PSV was counted at 1-mm intervals throughout the first 50 mm of the left anterior descending artery, and the PSV score was calculated as the sum of cross-sectional values. Patients with a PSV score increase of = 4 between baseline and 1-year post-transplant were classified as the "proliferative" group. Maximum intimal thickness was measured for the entire analysis segment.During the first year post-transplant, the proliferative group showed a greater increase in maximum intimal thickness (0.33 ± 0.36 mm vs 0.10 ± 0.28 mm, p < 0.001) and had a higher incidence of acute cellular rejection (50.0% vs 23.9%, p = 0.025) than the non-proliferative group. On Kaplan-Meier analysis, cardiac death-free survival rate over a median of 4.7 years was significantly lower in the proliferative group than in the non-proliferative group (hazard ratio, 3.10; p = 0.036).The increase in PSV, potentially representing an angioproliferative response around the coronary arteries, was associated with early CAV progression and reduced survival after heart transplantation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.healun.2016.02.002
View details for PubMedID 27068036