Background: Myocardial fibrosis is a well-described histopathologic feature in heart transplant recipients. Whether myocardial fibrosis in heart transplant recipients is independently associated with clinical outcomes is unclear. We sought to determine whether myocardial fibrosis on late gadolinium enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in heart transplant recipients was independently associated with all-cause death or major adverse cardiac outcomes in the long-term. Methods: Using a cohort of consecutive heart transplant recipients that had cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging, we determined the prevalence and the patterns of myocardial fibrosis and analyzed associations between myocardial fibrosis and a composite end point of all-cause death or major adverse cardiac events: retransplantation, nonfatal myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, and heart failure hospitalization. Results: One hundred and fifty-two heart transplant recipients (age, 54±15 years; 29% women; 5.0±5.4 years after heart transplantation) were included. Myocardial fibrosis was present in 18% (37% infarct pattern, 41% noninfarct pattern, and 22% both). Its prevalence was positively associated with cardiac allograft vasculopathy grade. With a median follow-up of 2.6 years, myocardial fibrosis was independently associated with all-cause death or major adverse cardiac events (hazard ratio, 2.88; 95% CI, 1.59-5.23; P<0.001) after adjustment for cardiac allograft vasculopathy, history of rejection, time since transplantation, left ventricular ejection fraction, and indexed right ventricular end-diastolic volume. Every 1% increase in myocardial fibrosis was independently associated with a 6% higher hazard for all-cause death or major adverse cardiac events (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03-1.09; P<0.001). The addition of myocardial fibrosis variables to models with cardiac allograft vasculopathy, history of rejection, time since transplantation, left ventricular ejection fraction, and indexed right ventricular end-diastolic volume resulted in significant improvements in model fit, suggesting incremental prognostic value. Conclusions: In heart transplant recipients, myocardial fibrosis is seen on late gadolinium enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in 18%. Both the presence and the extent of myocardial fibrosis are independently associated with the long-term risk of all-cause death or major adverse cardiac events.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr Akçakaya was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant R00HL111410. Dr Shenoy was supported by NIH grant K23HL132011, University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute KL2 Scholars Career Development Program Award (NIH grant KL2TR000113-05), and NIH grant UL1TR000114.
© 2019 American Heart Association, Inc.
- heart failure
- heart transplantation
- magnetic resonance imaging