Background: Recent clinical trials of primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease have demonstrated that lowering plasma cholesterol with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors ('statins') reduces morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease in diverse patient populations.
Study aims: The aim of the present ALERT (Assessment of Lescol in Renal Transplantation) study is to determine whether renal transplant recipients would also benefit from statin therapy. ALERT is a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the effect of fluvastatin in renal transplant recipients with mild-to-moderate hypercholesterolaemia. The primary objective is to investigate the effects of fluvastatin on major adverse cardiac events (MACE). In addition, the effects on cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, as well as renal function, will be addressed.
Study population: The study population contains patients with functioning renal allografts of more than 6 months' duration, recruited from 75 centres in Northern Europe and Canada. Patients of both sexes, aged 30-75 years, with a total cholesterol level of 4.0-9.0 mmol/l (155-348 mg/dl) were included, except for those with a history of myocardial infarction, where the upper limit for inclusion was 7.0 mmol/l (270 mg/dl).
Study design: A total of 2100 patients were recruited by the end of October 1997 and will be followed for up to 6 years. This report presents the design features of the study (recruitment, follow-up, sample size, data analysis and study organization), along with baseline results. ALERT is the first large-scale prospective, randomized, double-blind study to address the prevention of cardiovascular mortality in renal transplant patients receiving an HMGCoA reductase inhibitor.