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Transplant linked to heart attacks

Indians who have kidney transplants are more than twice as likely to suffer heart disease as transplant patients of other races, according to a new international study.

delhi Updated: Oct 03, 2010 23:44 IST
Anika Gupta

Indians who have kidney transplants are more than twice as likely to suffer heart disease as transplant patients of other races, according to a new international study.

Scientists in Canada studied 864 patients who’d received kidney transplants sometime between 1998 and 2007.

Nearly a sixth of the patients were South Asians, and these patients were more than twice as likely as other ethnic groups to have a heart attack within three months of getting a transplant.

Ethnicity also played a role in the kidney recipients’ long-term heart health. The scientists looked at how frequently patients suffered heart attacks or required major cardiac surgeries after kidney transplants, and found that South Asians were nearly four times as likely as other ethnic groups to report some form of heart trouble later in life.

“At the moment we do not know why this is the case,” said Ramesh Prasad, a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada. Prasad, did his MBBS from Hyderabad before going abroad, said that Indians’ tendency to put on fat around the abdomen might be part of the reason.

Previous studies have shown that Indians are genetically at greater risk for heart disease thanks to a tendency to store fat in the abdomen, and scientists already know that kidney transplants can put patients at risk for heart disease later in life.

“This study extends this finding about South Asians from the general population to the kidney transplant population,” he said. “This study identifies another risk factor for heart disease in transplant patients and the need for further study.”

His study appeared in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.