Role of anaemia in cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in transplant patients

Claudio Ponticelli, Margarita Villa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiovascular complications are a major cause of morbidity and the leading cause of mortality in renal transplant recipients. Multiple cardiovascular risk factors are often present before transplantation. Prior ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease predict post-transplantation mortality, as do older age, diabetes mellitus, smoking and length of time on dialysis. After transplantation, immunosuppressive agents and/or graft dysfunction may increase cardiovascular risk by causing hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes mellitus or glucose intolerance. Graft dysfunction may also contribute to cardiovascular risk by causing anaemia or hyperhomocysteinaemia. To assess the relative importance of potential cardiovascular risk factors in renal transplant recipients, a retrospective analysis has been performed on data from 911 patients at the Ospedale Maggiore, Milan, Italy. Preliminary findings confirm that cardiovascular complications are the leading cause of death in renal transplant recipients, accounting for 32% of all deaths. Other major factors predicting post-transplantation cardiovascular events include pretransplant cardiovascular events, age, smoking, diabetes mellitus (often acquired after transplantation) and hypertension. Careful selection and adequate preparation of patients in addition to appropriate treatment of cardiovascular risk factors are needed before transplantation to reduce the risk of post-transplantation cardiovascular events. After transplantation, appropriate treatment of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia, as well as avoidance of smoking, obesity and physical inactivity may reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Anaemia
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperlipidaemia
  • Hypertension
  • Renal transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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