Clinical implementation of coronary computed tomography angiography for routine detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy in heart transplant patients

Transpl Int. 2021 Oct;34(10):1886-1894. doi: 10.1111/tri.13973. Epub 2021 Sep 19.


Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is an accelerated form of coronary artery disease that affects long-term outcomes in heart transplant (HTx) patients. We prospectively evaluated the feasibility of coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) for the detection of CAV during clinical implementation at our center. All consecutive HTx patients >4 years post-transplant were actively converted from myocardial perfusion imaging to CCTA for the annual assessment of CAV. Between February 2018 and May 2019, 129/172 (75%) HTx patients underwent a CCTA. Renal impairment (n = 21/43) was the most frequent reason for patients could not undergo CCTA. CCTA image quality was good-excellent in 118/129 (92%) patients, and the radiation dose was 2.1 (1.6-2.8) mSv. CCTA showed obstructive CAV in 19/129 (15%) patients. Thirteen (10%) patients underwent additional tests, of which 8 patients underwent coronary revascularization within 90 days of CCTA. After 1 year, 3 additional coronary angiograms were performed, resulting in one revascularization in a patient with known severe CAV who developed ventricular tachycardia. One myocardial infarction after coronary stenting and 2 non-cardiac deaths were observed. CCTA can be successfully implemented for routine detection of CAV with good image quality and low radiation dose. CCTA allows CAV evaluation with the limited need for additional invasive testing.

Keywords: cardiac allograft vasculopathy; computed tomography angiography; coronary artery disease; heart transplantation; invasive coronary angiography.

MeSH terms

  • Allografts
  • Computed Tomography Angiography
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans