Sirolimus use and incidence of venous thromboembolism in cardiac transplant recipients

Jennifer T. Thibodeau, Joseph D. Mishkin, Parag C. Patel, Patricia A. Kaiser, Colby R. Ayers, Pradeep P.A. Mammen, David W. Markham, W. Steves Ring, Matthias Peltz, Mark H. Drazner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Sirolimus is an immunosuppressive agent increasingly used in cardiac transplant recipients in the setting of allograft vasculopathy or worsening renal function. Recently, sirolimus has been associated with increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in lung transplant recipients. To investigate whether this association is also present in cardiac transplant recipients, we retrospectively reviewed the charts of 67 cardiac transplant recipients whose immunosuppressive regimen included sirolimus and 134 matched cardiac transplant recipients whose regimen did not include sirolimus. Rates of VTE were compared. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models tested the association of sirolimus use with VTE. A higher incidence of VTE was seen in patients treated with vs. without sirolimus (8/67 [12%] vs. 9/134 [7%], log-rank statistic: 4.66, p = 0.03). Lower body mass index (BMI) and total cholesterol levels were also associated with VTE (p < 0.05). The association of sirolimus with VTE persisted when adjusting for BMI (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]: 2.96 [1.13, 7.75], p = 0.03) but not when adjusting for total cholesterol (p = 0.08). These data suggest that sirolimus is associated with an increased risk of VTE in cardiac transplant recipients, a risk possibly mediated through comorbid conditions. Larger, more conclusive studies are needed. Until such studies are completed, a heightened level of awareness for VTE in cardiac transplant recipients treated with sirolimus appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-959
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Cardiac transplant
  • Sirolimus
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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