"These findings are contrary to conventional thinking that a kidney transplant may put additional strain on the hearts of patients with systolic heart failure," says the lead author of the study, Ravinder K. Wali, M.D., a nephrologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We were surprised to find that, in fact, many of those people with severe heart failure had striking improvement in terms of cardiac function after a kidney transplant."
Dr. Wali adds, "Our study also found that systolic heart failure was more likely to be reversed if patients received a transplant soon after they began dialysis to treat their kidney failure."
The study followed 103 patients between June 1998 and November 2002. Prior to their transplant, all of the patients had congestive heart failure with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 40 percent or less. The ejection fraction is a measure of the ability of the heart to pump blood. In the normal ejection fraction, the heart is capable of pumping more than 55 percent of the blood volume in the ventricle. The researchers assessed the heart's pumping ability of the patients at six and 12 months and at a later follow-up visit after successful transplantation.
Overall, after a kidney transplant, the heart's pumping ability improved in more than 86 percent of the patients. For
Contact: Bill Seiler
University of Maryland Medical Center