Stem Cell Transplant Patients at Higher Risk of Heart Disease


According to a study published online in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, stem cell transplant patients are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Researchers from City of Hope hospital in Duarte, California, which runs one of the nation's busiest stem cell transplant programs, carried out a retrospective study of patients who underwent a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

They found that these patients have a higher incidence of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, when compared to the public. This proved especially true for patients who survive an allogeneic transplant, and for patients who endure grades II-IV graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

GVHD is a sometimes fatal complication of a stem cell transplant in which the graft, the donor organ, rejects the patient (as opposed to it being the other way around).

Factors Contributing to Heart Disease in Stem Cell Transplant Patients

Researchers think there are two primary factors contributing to heart disease in these patients:

    -Conditioning chemotherapy and radiation prior to transplant
    -Treatment for GVHD

Furthermore, the risk of actually developing cardiovascular disease was found to be higher among patients who had all of the cardiovascular risk factors studied—hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia—and they developed them earlier than the general public.

"Our study sought to better determine the specific factors before and after transplant that can lead to heart disease in a large group of transplant recipients," the researchers said.

Source: Medpage Today

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