Background: Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is considered a major cause of morbidity and mortality in transplant recipients and may reflect immune-mediated endothelial injury in response to the donor heart. Elevated troponin levels in the donor serum might provide a marker for this phenomenon; therefore, we evaluated the relationship of donor troponin levels to the development of CAV. Methods: A retrospective analysis of troponin levels was undertaken from cardiac donor patients, and transplant recipients were monitored for the development of vasculopathy by angiography (N = 171). Results: Angiographically significant CAV developed in 6% of transplantation patients and troponin levels were inversely related to the severity of CAV. Conclusions: Elevated donor troponin levels are not associated with the development of CAV but rather with a significantly reduced long-term risk of developing CAV, suggesting a possible protective effect of donor released protein.
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