Kidney transplantation halts cardiovascular disease progression in patients with end-stage renal disease

Am J Transplant. 2004 Oct;4(10):1662-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2004.00573.x.


Morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease have a devastating impact on patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease. Renal function decline in itself is thought to be a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this study, we investigated the hypothesis that the elevated CV mortality in kidney transplant patients is due to the preexisting CVD burden and that restoring renal function by a kidney transplant might over time lower the risk for CVD. We analyzed 60,141 first-kidney-transplant patients registered in the USRDS from 1995 to 2000 for the primary endpoint of cardiac death by transplant vintage and compared these rates to all 66813 adult kidney wait listed patients by wait listing vintage, covering the same time period. The CVD rates peaked during the first 3 months following transplantation and decreased subsequently by transplant vintage when censoring for transplant loss. This trend could be shown in living and deceased donor transplants and even in patients with end-stage renal disease secondary to diabetes. In contrast, the CVD rates on the transplant waiting list increased sharply and progressively by wait listing vintage. Despite the many mechanisms that may be in play, the enduring theme underlying rapid progression of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease in renal failure is the loss of renal function. The data presented in this paper thus suggest that the development or progression of these lesions could be ameliorated by restoring renal function with a transplant.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors