CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES AFTER KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION
Summary. Cardiovascular complications represent the leading cause of mortality in renal transplant recipients, with ischemic heart disease accounting for more than 50% of deaths. Besides the well known risk factors that affect the general population, risk for development of atherosclerosis in renal transplant patients is further increased by previous uremia and dialysis, as well as by the use of immunosuppressive agents. Diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, smok- ing, hyperhomocysteinemia, hyperuricemia, coagulation abnormalities, increased expression of cell adhesion molecules, persistent inflammation, frequent infections and obesity all increase the risk for developemnt of atherosclerosis in transplanted patients. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the risk of cardiovascular disease falls signifi- cantly with smoking cessation, reduction of alcohol consumption, reduction of excessive weight, and appropriate and aggressive control of blood pressure and dyslipidemia. Patients should be instructed, and every effort should be invested to increase their compliance with the modified lifestyle and drug adherence. Novel immunosuppressive regimens tend to decrease the risk of atherosclerosis by being individualized according to the characteristics of the particular patient.