Purpose: African Americans have increased risk for congestive heart failure (CHF) compared to Caucasians in the general population, but the risk of CHF in African American renal transplant recipients has not been studied in a national renal transplant population.
Methods: Therefore, 33,479 renal transplant recipients in the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) from 1 July, 1994 to 30 June, 1997 were analyzed in an historical cohort study of the incidence, associated factors, and mortality of hospitalizations with a primary discharge diagnosis of CHF [International Classification of Diseases-9 (ICD9) Code 428.x].
Results: African American renal transplant recipients had increased age-adjusted risk of hospitalizations for congestive heart failure compared to African Americans in the general population [rate ratio 4.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.59-4.62]. In logistic regression analysis, African American recipients had increased risk of congestive heart failure after renal transplantation, independent of other factors. Among other significant factors associated with congestive heart failure, the strongest were graft loss and allograft rejection. No maintenance immunosuppressive medications were associated with CHF. In Cox regression analysis patients hospitalized for CHF had increased all-cause mortality compared with all other recipients (hazard ratio 3.69, 95% CI, 2.23-6.10), but African American recipients with CHF were not at significantly increased risk of mortality compared to Caucasian recipients with CHF.
Conclusions: African Americans recipients were at high risk for CHF after transplant independent of other factors. The reasons for this increased risk should be the subject of further study. All potential transplant recipients should receive particular attention for the diagnosis and prevention of CHF in the transplant evaluation process, which includes preservation of allograft function.