Cardiac allograft vasculopathy is a major cause of long-term graft failure following heart transplantation. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), a marker of endothelial dysfunction, has been mechanistically implicated in the development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy, but its impact on coronary physiology early after transplantation is unknown. Invasive indices of coronary physiology, namely, fractional flow reserve (FFR), the index of microcirculatory resistance, and coronary flow reserve, were measured with a coronary pressure wire in the left anterior descending artery within 8 weeks (baseline) and 1 year after transplant. Plasma levels of ADMA were concurrently assayed using high-performance liquid chromatography. In 46 heart transplant recipients, there was a statistically significant correlation between elevated ADMA levels and lower FFR values at baseline (r = −0.33; p = 0.024); this modest association persisted 1 year after transplant (r = −0.39; p = 0.0085). Patients with a baseline FFR <0.90 (a prognostically validated cutoff) had significantly higher baseline ADMA levels (0.63 ± 0.16 vs 0.54 ± 0.12 µM; p = 0.034). Baseline ADMA (odds ratio 1.80 per 0.1 µM; 95% confidence interval 1.07 to 3.03; p = 0.027) independently predicted a baseline FFR <0.90 after multivariable adjustment. Even after dichotomizing ADMA (≥0.60 µM, provides greatest diagnostic accuracy by receiver operating characteristic curve), this association remained significant (odds ratio 7.52, 95% confidence interval 1.74 to 32.49; p = 0.006). No significant relationship between ADMA and index of microcirculatory resistance or coronary flow reserve was detected. In conclusion, baseline ADMA was a strong independent predictor of FFR <0.90, suggesting that elevated ADMA levels are associated with abnormal epicardial function soon after heart transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine