Incidence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes of Stroke Following Cardiac Transplantation

Hilmi Alnsasra, Rabea Asleh, Neeraj Kumar, Camden Lopez, Takumi Toya, Walter K. Kremers, Brooks Edwards, Richard C. Daly, Sudhir S. Kushwaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Less is known about the risk factors and outcomes associated with stroke in the current era of increasing heart transplantation (HT) being performed in older patients. The impact of immunosuppression on risk of stroke has not yet been previously studied. We aimed to determine the incidence, risk factors and outcomes of stroke after HT. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the incidence of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes and associated outcomes in all consecutive HT recipients transplanted between 1994 and 2016 at a single institution. Results: Of 529 patients who underwent HT, 57 (10.7%) developed stroke, 8.1% had an ischemic events and (2.6%) had a hemorrhagic stroke. Age at HT (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.33; P=0.03) and diabetes (HR, 2.60; P=0.02) were associated with increased risk of ischemic events. Patients with stroke (any type) were more likely to have worse kidney function (HR, 1.81; P=0.02) whereas patients with ischemic events were more likely to undergo combined organ transplantation (HR, 2.01; P=0.05). Cytomegalovirus infection was found to be associated with increased risk of any stroke (HR, 2.09; P=0.02).Conversion from calcineurin inhibitor to sirolimus-based immunosuppression was not found to be associated with a significant change in stroke risk (HR, 1.39; P=0. 45) compared with calcineurin inhibitor maintenance therapy. Stroke of any type and ischemic events were independently associated with increased risk of death (HR, 1.90; P=0.001 and HR, 2.14; P<0.001, respectively). Conclusions: Stroke after HT is associated with increased mortality. Older age at HT, diabetes, renal dysfunction, and CMV infection were associated with greater risk of stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E720-E724
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • heart transplantation
  • immunosuppression
  • incidence
  • maintenance
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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