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The First Case Report of the Treatment of Transplant Coronary Artery Disease With Dextran Sulfate Adsorption Lipid Apheresis


Dr Rachel Sosland, 5701 W. 119th Street, Suite 430, Overland Park, Kansas 66209, USA. Email:


In patients who have undergone a heart transplant, the major cause of death is coronary artery disease (CAD). The etiology of cardiac-allograft vasculopathy is thought to be multifactorial, but due in large part to immune mechanisms that cause elevations in serum cholesterol levels. The dextran sulfate cellulose low-density lipoprotein (LDL) adsorption (DSA) apheresis procedure has been shown to reduce lipoprotein levels and markers of blood rheology to improve coronary perfusion to the transplanted heart. We report the first described case of the stabilization and reversal of progressive transplant CAD with DSA. We followed a 50-year-old male orthotopic heart transplant recipient with familial hyperlipidemia refractory to lipid lowering therapy with bi-weekly LDL-apheresis (DSA system) for 12 months. Quarterly pre- and post-apheresis blood investigations were obtained, as well as annual adenosine thallium (AT) studies. Creatinine kinase (CPK), creatinine, LDL, fibrinogen, and lipoprotein (a) were reduced by 70%, 26%, 23%, 47%, and 47%, respectively. AT before the initiation of apheresis revealed a small to medium sized, partially reversible perfusion defect in the anterolateral and inferoapical walls, with an ejection fraction (EF) of 49%, elevated left ventricular volume (171 mL), and an elevated pulmonary-to-myocardial (PMR) count ratio of 0.67 (normal <0.52). After 12 months of LDL apheresis with DSA, a repeat AT demonstrated no fixed or reversible perfusion abnormality, an EF of 51%, and the PMR had normalized (0.46). This is the first reported case demonstrating that in a heart transplant survivor with hyperlipidemia and progression of coronary artery disease, LDL apheresis with DSA therapy can lead to regression and is an effective treatment of post-transplant coronary disease.