Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risk in Renal Transplant Patients

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Abstract

End-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is a main public health problem, the prevalence of which is continuously increasing worldwide. Due to adverse effects of renal replacement therapies, kidney transplantation seems to be the optimal form of therapy with significantly improved survival, quality of life and diminished overall costs compared with dialysis. However, post-transplant patients frequently suffer from post-transplant diabetes mellitus (PTDM) which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular and cardiovascular-related deaths after transplantation. The management of post-transplant diabetes resembles that of diabetes in the general population as it is based on strict glycemic control as well as screening and treatment of common complications. Lifestyle interventions accompanied by the tailoring of immunosuppressive regimen may be of key importance to mitigate post-transplant diabetes mellitus-associated complications in kidney transplant patients. More transplant-specific approach can include the exchange of tacrolimus with an alternative immunosuppressant (cyclosporine or mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor), the decrease or cessation of corticosteroid therapy and caution in the prescribing of diuretics since they are independently connected with post-transplant diabetes.

Conclusion: Early identification of high-risk patients for cardiovascular diseases enables timely introduction of appropriate therapeutic strategy and results in higher survival rates for patients with a transplanted kidney.

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