Predicting heart events after liver transplant

NORTHWESTERN NOW | Marla Paul

First app to predict which patients will die or be hospitalized from cardiovascular complication post-transplant

CHICAGO - The first app and score to determine the one-year risk of a liver transplant patient dying or being hospitalized for a heart attack or other cardiovascular complication has been developed by Northwestern Medicine scientists.

“Knowing the patient’s risk is critical to help prevent the frequent cardiac complications that accompany liver transplant surgery and to determine which patients are likely to survive the transplant,” said Dr. Lisa VanWagner, an assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician.

Liver transplant surgery is among the highest-risk cardiac surgery. Unique blood flow changes occur in patients with end-stage liver disease. And during a liver transplant, massive changes in blood volume and adrenaline surges affect heart function.

“Identifying persons who are at highest risk may mean restricting transplantation so that we maximize the benefit of scarce donor organs to persons who have a lower risk of a cardiac event and are more likely to survive the stress of a liver transplant,” VanWagner said. Continue reading
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