Utilization of aspirin and statin in management of coronary artery disease in patients with cirrhosis undergoing liver transplant evaluation

Liver Transpl. 2018 Jul;24(7):872-880. doi: 10.1002/lt.25067.


Coronary artery disease (CAD) assessment is a vital part of liver transplantation (LT) evaluation, as it allows for identification and medical optimization prior to transplantation. Although aspirin and statins are standard of care for CAD, they are not universally used in cirrhosis due to concerns about adverse events. Per protocol, coronary angiography was performed as part of the LT evaluation in all patients over the age of 50 years or with CAD risk factors, even if they were younger than 50. Optimal CAD medical management was defined as the use of both statin and aspirin, unless a contraindication was documented. Impact of these medications on hepatic decompensation, renal function, gastrointestinal bleeding, and need for transfusion was evaluated. CAD was detected in 84/228 (36.8%) patients. Lipid profile was similar in patients with and without CAD. In patients with CAD, statins were started in 19 (23%), while aspirin was used in 30 (36%) patients. In patients with obstructive or multivessel CAD, statin therapy was used only in 41% and 65%, respectively. Statins were more likely to be prescribed in patients with diabetes (32% versus 15%, P = 0.05) and history of dyslipidemia (38% versus 15%, P = 0.02). Use of statin therapy was not linked to hepatic decompensation, hospitalization, or rise in Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD). Similarly, use of aspirin therapy was not associated with increased risk acute variceal hemorrhage, gastrointestinal bleeding, or worsening anemia. In conclusion, in decompensated cirrhosis, lipid profile alone is unable to risk stratify patients with CAD. Statin and aspirin appear to be safe. However, they are significantly underutilized for the management of CAD in this patient population. Liver Transplantation 24 872-880 2018 AASLD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • End Stage Liver Disease / diagnosis
  • End Stage Liver Disease / pathology
  • End Stage Liver Disease / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Aspirin