Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a common complication following heart transplantation (HT), resulting in diminished graft survival. The preferred strategy for preventing CAV is optimal medical management; however, for patients who develop CAV, delaying disease progression through effective medication management is equally important. A review of the literature regarding medication management of CAV was conducted via a search of the MEDLINE database. Studies were included if they were published in English, conducted in humans ≥ 18 years of age or older, and used noninvestigational medications. Immunosuppressive medications such as the antiproliferative mycophenolate, the calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus, and the proliferation signal inhibitors sirolimus and everolimus have been shown to prevent the development of CAV. Certain cardiovascular medications, such as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), gemfibrozil, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, have also demonstrated efficacy in preventing this disease process. Prevention of CAV has also been observed with prophylaxis against cytomegalovirus infection and antioxidant medications. Despite being commonly used in HT patients, neither antiplatelet agents nor glycemic control have proved effective at preventing CAV. Only sirolimus has been shown to arrest the progress of existing CAV.
Keywords: HMG CoA reductase inhibitors; angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; antioxidants; antiplatelet agents; calcium channel blockers; coronary artery disease; cytomegalovirus; heart transplantation; immunosuppressive agents.
© 2015 Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.