Background Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a major cause of mortality after cardiac transplantation. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC) is inversely associated with coronary artery disease. In 2 independent studies, we tested the hypothesis that reduced CEC is associated with mortality and disease progression in CAV. Methods We tested the relationship between CEC and survival in a cohort of patients with CAV (n = 35). To determine whether reduced CEC is associated with CAV progression, we utilized samples from the Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation 05 (CTOT05) study to determine the association between CEC and CAV progression and status at 1 year (n = 81), as assessed by average change in maximal intimal thickness (MIT) on intravascular ultrasound. Results Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models demonstrated that higher levels of CEC were associated with improved survival (hazard ratio 0.26, 95% confidence interval 0.11 to 0.63) per standard deviation CEC, p = 0.002). Patients who developed CAV had reduced CEC at baseline and 1-year post-transplant. We observed a significant association between pre-transplant CEC and the average change in MIT, particularly among patients who developed CAV at 1 year (β = −0.59, p = 0.02, R2 = 0.35). Conclusion Reduced CEC is associated with disease progression and mortality in CAV patients. These findings suggest the hypothesis that interventions to increase CEC may be useful in cardiac transplant patients for prevention or treatment of CAV.
- cardiac allograft vasculopathy
- cholesterol efflux capacity
- high-density lipoprotein