Coronary artery disease in orthotopic liver transplantation: pretransplant assessment and management.

Ehtisham J, Altieri M, Salam© E, Saloux E, Ollivier I, Hamon M., France.

The prevalence of coronary artery disease in end-stage liver disease is only now being recognized. Liver transplant patients are a high risk subgroup for coronary artery disease, even if asymptomatic. Coronary artery disease is a predictor of poor outcomes; therefore, identification of those at risk must be a key clinical priority. However, risk assessment is particularly difficult as many of the available diagnostic tools have either proven to be unhelpful or remain to be validated. Risk factor profiling has been unable to identify those at risk and commonly underestimates risk. The high negative predictive value of Dobutamine stress echo, when target heart rates are achieved, allows it to be used to identify a low risk group. For all other patients, proceeding to invasive coronary angiography is often necessary, and the risks of the procedure can be reduced by a transradial approach. Pharmacological reduction of the consequences of coronary artery disease can be limited by the underlying liver disease. Revascularization pre-transplantation is recommended in international guidelines but has demonstrated little evidence of benefit. Surgical revascularization carries an increased risk in these patients and is commonly performed pre-transplantation, although combined liver and cardiac surgery has been described. Percutaneous coronary intervention is increasingly used with patients requiring anti-platelet medication for up to one year after intervention. We present a review of all these issues and the evidence for assessing and managing these high-risk patients.

Liver Transpl. 2010 May;16(5):550-7.