Late hypertension after liver transplantation: A comparison of cyclosporine and tacrolimus (FK 506)



Hypertension frequently develops early after liver transplantation when cyclosporine-based immunosuppression is used. However, initial experience with tacrolimus has suggested that its use leads to a lower early incidence of hypertension. In this study, the blood pressure status of patients treated with cyclosporine (n = 131) and those treated with tacrolimus (n = 28) was compared 24 months after liver transplantation. At this time interval, the prevalence of hypertension in the cyclosporine and tacrolimus groups were 82% and 64%, respectively (P < .05). For those patients who were hypertensive by 24 months, onset was delayed in the tacrolimus group compared with the cyclosporine group: 40% versus 71% and 73% versus 93% at 1 and 12 months, respectively (P < .05). Within the cyclosporine group, patients with hypertension were heavier than those with normal blood pressure, 84.7 ± 1.8 versus 73.4 ± 4.0 kg, respectively (P < .05). Within the tacrolimus group, hypertensive patients had lower glomerular filtration rates and higher renal vascular resistances compared with normotensive patients, 74 ± 12 versus 47 ± 6 mL/min and 15,711 ± 2,445 versus 28,830 ± 4,310 dyne/s/cm5/m2, respectively (P < .05). There were no within-group differences for age, gender, pretransplant history of hypertension, family history of hypertension, graft function, or daily doses of prednisone, cyclosporine, or tacrolimus. These results indicate that, compared with cyclosporine, the onset of hypertension after liver transplantation is delayed and less prevalent with tacrolimus. Additionally, hypertension is associated with increased body weight in cyclosporine-treated patients and with more severe renal dysfunction in patients receiving tacrolimus. The relationships of these findings to the development of posttransplant hypertension requires further study.