Severe abdominal complications in patients subjected to cardiac transplantation: The problem of clinical inexpressiveness

Gemma Cerdán, Vicena Artigas, Bernat Romero Ferrer, Manuel Rodríguez, Emilio Ayats, Luis Allende, Mireia Puig, Josep M. Padró, Manuel Trias

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    Introduction. In transplanted patients, immunosuppressive drugs can mask habitual pathologies that impede their diagnoses and management. Abdominal pathology gives up to 2-20%, 50% of which is surgical, with a mortality of 10-40%. The most frequently detected pathologies are: acute pancreatitis, peptic ulceration and intestinal obstruction. Objectives. To determine the alarm parameters, more adequate diagnostic procedures and the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality in order to attempt to avoid them. Methods. In our center 225 head transplantations were performed from May 1984 to October 1997. The severe abdominal complications, time of appearance, implication of immunosuppressive drugs and presence of rejection were studied in these patients. Results. 35 severe abdominal complications were detected (incidence 12,9%), with the majority differing (> 1 year following transplant). The most frequently detected pathologies were digestive hemorrhages and perforations. Acute pancreatitis was 11%. The immunosuppressive drugs used were prednisona, cyclosporin and azathioprine. In 12 out of 29 patients the abdominal complication was in the context of acute rejection. Conclusions. Even with some non-specific abdominal symptoms in these group of patients it is important to rule out severe pathologies such as acute pancreatitis or empty viscera perforation. The detection of amylases and lypases in the blood and an echographic or tomographic abdominal study should be performed early with a digestive hemorrhage it is important to perform an endoscopy. If the surgical intervention seems imminent it's better to perform it without any delay, because it has been demonstrated that the delay is worse than the probable rejection.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number75176
    Pages (from-to)919-926
    JournalRevista Espanola de Cardiologia
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


    • Heart diseases
    • Immune system
    • Morbidity
    • Rejection
    • Transplant


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