1Division of GI and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
2Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
3Hepatology and Liver Transplant Unit, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, CIBERehd, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) are the leading cause of early (<1 y) complications after liver transplantation (LT). NASH, the leading indication for waitlisting for LT, is associated with high cardiac risk factor burden. The contemporary prevalence and temporal trends in pretransplant cardiac risk factor burden and post-LT MACE among LT recipients (LTRs) with and without NASH are unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate (1) the evolution of post-LT cardiac risk factors in LTRs over time and (2) post-LT MACE over time, stratified by NASH status. This is a retrospective cohort of 1775 adult LTRs at a single transplant center (2003-2020). MACE was defined as death or hospitalization from myocardial infarction, revascularization, stroke, heart failure during the first post-LT year. Between 2003 and 2020, there was a significant increase in pre-LT NASH ( ptrend <0.05). There was also a significant increase in pre-LT obesity, atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) disease, and older age (≥65 y old) ( ptrend <0.05 for all). There was no significant change in the proportion of LTRs with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or heart failure. Unexpectedly, there were no changes in the rate of post-LT MACE over the study period (-0.1% per year, ptrend =0.44). The lack of change in MACE despite an increase in CV risk factor prevalence may reflect advancement in the identification and management of CV risk factors in LTRs. With projected continued increase in cardiac risk burden and the proportion of patients transplanted for NASH, it is critical for LT programs to develop and implement quality improvement efforts to optimize CV care in LTRs.