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Etiology, risk factors and management of hypertension post liver transplantation

Title: Etiology, risk factors and management of hypertension post liver transplantation

Source: Pediatric Transplantation 2023, Nov 1. [E-publication]

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Date of publication: November 2023

Publication type: Review article

Abstract: Background: Cardiovascular events are one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in the long-term follow-up of liver transplant recipients. Hypertension is a significant cardiovascular risk factor that occurs frequently after pediatric liver transplantation. Chronic use of immunosuppressants – mainly calcineurin inhibitors – plays a major role in the development of post-transplant hypertension and circadian disturbances such as flattening of the nocturnal blood pressure dip. This requires special attention in children given the long timeframe during which immunosuppressive therapy is necessary. Careful and structured blood pressure monitoring and adequate treatment of hypertension are essential to optimize the quality of life and life expectancy of pediatric liver transplant patients. However, evidence-based guidelines for monitoring and management of post-transplant hypertension and its complications are lacking.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive review of the current knowledge and practices concerning post-transplant hypertension. The databases Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science and Google Scholar were scanned with the following keywords: pediatric liver transplantation, immunosuppression, tacrolimus, cardiovascular effects, hypertension, heart function, kidney function, circadian rhythm, mechanism, monitoring, and management.

Results: In this review, we describe the incidence and etiology of hypertension in pediatric liver transplant recipients, the underlying mechanisms and characteristics of calcineurin inhibitor-induced hypertension, and the consequences of and risk factors for post-transplant hypertension. We hereby present an overview of the current practices in blood pressure monitoring and antihypertensive treatment as well as an algorithm for the evaluation and management of hypertension post liver transplantation. Finally, we discuss knowledge gaps and suggestions for future research.

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