The Impact of Coronary Artery Disease and Statins on Survival After Liver Transplantation

Liver Transpl. 2019 Oct;25(10):1514-1523. doi: 10.1002/lt.25613. Epub 2019 Aug 20.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major contributor to longterm mortality after liver transplantation (LT) necessitating aggressive modification of CVD risk. However, it is unclear how coronary artery disease (CAD) and the development of dyslipidemia following LT impacts clinical outcomes and how management of these factors may impact survival. Patients undergoing LT at Virginia Commonwealth University from January 2007 to January 2017 were included (n = 495). CAD and risk factors in all potential liver transplantation recipients (LTRs) over the age of 50 years were evaluated via coronary angiography. The impact of pre-LT CAD after transplantation was evaluated via a survival analysis. Additionally, factors associated with new-onset dyslipidemia, statin use, and mortality were assessed using multiple logistic regression or Cox proportional hazards models. The mean age of the cohort was 55.3 ± 9.3 years at the time of LT, and median follow-up was 4.5 years. CAD was noted in 129 (26.1%) patients during the pre-LT evaluation. The presence or severity of pre-LT CAD did not impact post-LT survival. Dyslipidemia was present in 96 patients at LT, and 157 patients developed new-onset dyslipidemia after LT. Statins were underused as only 45.7% of patients with known CAD were on therapy. In patients with new-onset dyslipidemia, statin therapy was initiated in 111 (71.1%), and median time to initiation of statin therapy was 2.5 years. Statin use conferred survival benefit (hazard ratio, 0.25; 95% confidence interval, 0.12-0.49) and was well tolerated with only 12% of patients developing an adverse event requiring the cessation of therapy. In conclusion, pre-LT CAD did not impact survival after LT, potentially suggesting a role of accelerated atherosclerosis that may not be captured on pre-LT testing. Although statin therapy confers survival benefit, it is underused in LTRs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / prevention & control
  • Dyslipidemias / complications
  • Dyslipidemias / diagnosis
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology*
  • End Stage Liver Disease / complications
  • End Stage Liver Disease / mortality*
  • End Stage Liver Disease / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors