Cardiovascular hospitalizations and mortality among recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jul 5;155(1):21-32. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-155-1-201107050-00004.


Background: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is increasingly used to treat multiple malignant and nonmalignant conditions. The risk for cardiovascular disease after the procedure has not been well-described.

Objective: To compare rates and hazards of cardiovascular-related hospitalization and death among persons who were still alive at least 2 years after HSCT with those in a population-based sample.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Comprehensive cancer center.

Patients: 1491 patients who had survived 2 years or longer after HSCT received between 1985 and 2006, and frequency-matched persons who were randomly selected from drivers' license files in the state of Washington.

Measurements: Cardiovascular hospitalizations and death, as determined from statewide hospital discharge records and death registries in Washington.

Results: Compared with the general population, transplant recipients experienced increased cardiovascular death (adjusted incidence rate difference, 3.6 per 1000 person-years [95% CI, 1.7 to 5.5]). Recipients also had an increased cumulative incidence of ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy or heart failure, stroke, vascular diseases, and rhythm disorders and an increased incidence of related conditions that predispose toward more serious cardiovascular disease (hypertension, renal disease, dyslipidemia, and diabetes). No consistent differences in hazards were observed after total-body irradiation or receipt of an allogeneic versus an autologous graft, aside from an increased rate of hypertension among recipients of allogeneic grafts. Disease relapse after transplantation was associated with an increased hazard of cardiovascular death (hazard ratio, 2.3 [CI, 1.1 to 4.8]).

Limitation: All patients received HSCT at a single institution, and no information was available on pretransplantation treatment and lifestyle factors that may influence risk for cardiovascular disease.

Conclusion: Increased rates of cardiovascular disease should be taken into account when caring for patients who have received HSCT. Future efforts should be directed toward improved screening and controlling of factors that predispose toward cardiovascular disease.

Primary funding source: The American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Seattle Children's Research Institute.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Transplantation Conditioning
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Transplantation, Homologous / adverse effects
  • Whole-Body Irradiation
  • Young Adult