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Abstract

Hyperlipidemia is common in transplant patients. Although a causal relationship to the use of cyclosporine is accepted, additional risk factors are as yet unidentified. Eighty-five liver transplant recipients treated with standard triple immunosuppression with a survival of at least 6 months were evaluated. Pretransplantation and posttransplantation variables were analyzed as predictive factors of posttransplantation hyperlipidemia. Serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were considered elevated if they were > 250 mg/dL and > 150 mg/dL, respectively. Before and after transplantation, hyperlipidemia occurred in 8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3% to 16%) and 66% (95% CI, 55% to 76%), respectively. After transplantation, 47% (95% CI, 36% to 58%) of the patients had isolated high triglyceride levels, 12% (95% CI, 6% to 21%) had both elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and 7% (95% CI, 3% to 15%) had isolated elevated cholesterol levels. Hypertriglyceridemia occurred early after transplantation (67% by first month) and persisted nearly unchanged throughout the first year. In contrast, cholesterol levels increased with time (5%, 13%, and 27% at 1, 3, and 6 months, respectively). In univariate analysis, factors predictive of hypercholesterolemia included female sex, pretransplantation cholestatic liver disease, pretransplantation cholesterol levels > 141 mg/dL, and > 3 methylprednisolone “boluses.” In multivariate analysis, only a pretransplantation cholesterol level of > 141 mg/dL (odds ratio [OR], 5.5; 95% CI, 1.4 to 21) was an independent risk factor. Risk factors associated with hypertriglyceridemia included pretransplantation hepatocellular liver disease (OR, 6.8; 95% CI, 1.2 to 40) and posttransplantation renal dysfunction (OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 1.9 to 15.4). Hyperlipidemia is a frequent finding in liver transplant recipients, and hypertriglyceridemia is the most common abnormality. Hypertriglyceridemia can be predicted on the basis of pretransplant hepatocellular disease and posttransplant renal dysfunction. Pretransplant serum cholesterol level is an independent risk factor for posttransplant hypercholesterolemia.