The effect of antiplatelet therapy on survival and cardiac allograft vasculopathy following heart transplantation: A systematic review and meta‐analysis
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Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is mediated by endothelial inflammation, platelet activation and thrombosis. Antiplatelet therapy may prevent the development of CAV. This systematic review and meta-analysis summarizes and appraises the evidence on the effect of antiplatelet therapy after heart transplantation (HT). CENTRAL(Ovid), MEDLINE(Ovid), Embase(Ovid) were searched from inception until April 30, 2020. Outcomes included CAV, all-cause mortality, and CAV-related mortality. Data were pooled using random-effects models. Seven observational studies including 2023 patients, mean age 52 years, 22% female, 47% with ischemic cardiomyopathy followed over a mean 7.1 years proved eligible. All studies compared acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to no treatment and were at serious risk of bias. Data from 1911 patients in 6 studies were pooled in the meta-analyses. The evidence is very uncertain about the effect of ASA on all-cause or CAV-related mortality. ASA may reduce the development of CAV (RR 0.75, 95% CI: 0.44-1.29) based on very low certainty evidence. Two studies that conducted propensity-weighted analyses showed further reduction in CAV with ASA (HR 0.31, 95% CI: 0.13-0.74). In conclusion, there is limited evidence that ASA may reduce the development of CAV. Definitive resolution of the impact of antiplatelet therapy on CAV and mortality will require randomized clinical trials.
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