BACKGROUND: An atherosclerotic disease burden sufficient to put lung transplant candidates at risk for end-organ disease after transplantation is considered to be a relative contraindication for lung transplantation.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess our current practice of cardiac workup by coronary angiography in lung transplant candidates ≥50 years of age.
METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 50 consecutive lung transplant candidates ≥50 years of age in which coronary angiography was performed at the University Hospital Zurich (2009-2013). For every patient, the risk of developing an acute coronary event was estimated by using a recalibrated version of the PROCAM study calculator for the Swiss population.
RESULTS: The median estimated risk of developing an acute coronary event within 10 years in the study cohort (n = 50) was 4.2% (interquartile range 1.9-7.6), which is considered to be a low risk. Sixteen percent of patients were considered to be at intermediate risk. In 66% of patients, coronary angiography showed no coronary artery disease (CAD). In 28% of patients, CAD without significant stenosis was diagnosed. In 6% of patients, significant coronary stenosis was detected requiring percutaneous coronary intervention. No correlation between the coronary status and the risk score or cardiovascular risk profile was found.
CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of asymptomatic CAD in lung transplant candidates without correlation to a common clinical risk score supports the important role of coronary angiography for the assessment of coronary artery status. This approach might prevent cardiovascular events and improve long-term survival after transplantation.