Changes in left ventricular structure and function associated with renal transplantation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Luke C Pickup, Jonathan P Law, Ashwin Radhakrishnan, Anna M Price, Charalampos Loutradis, Toby O Smith, Nicola C Edwards, Richard P Steeds, Jonathan N Townend, Charles J Ferro

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AIMS: This study aimed to examine if the cardiac changes associated with uraemic cardiomyopathy are reversed by renal transplantation.

METHODS AND RESULTS: MEDLINE, Embase, OpenGrey, and the Cochrane Library databases were searched from 1950 to March 2020. The primary outcome measure was left ventricular mass index. Secondary outcome measures included left ventricular dimensions and measures of diastolic and systolic function. Studies were included if they used any imaging modality both before and after successful renal transplantation. Data were analysed through meta-analysis approaches. Weight of evidence was assessed through the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system. Twenty-three studies used echocardiography, and three used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging as their imaging modality. The methodological quality of the evidence was generally poor. Four studies followed up control groups, two using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and two using echocardiography. Meta-analysis of these studies indicated that there was no difference in left ventricular mass index between groups following transplantation {standardized mean difference -0.07 [95% confidence interval (CI) -0.41 to 0.26]; P = 0.67}. There was also no difference observed in left ventricular ejection fraction [mean difference 0.39% (95% CI -4.09% to 4.87%); P = 0.86] or left ventricular end-diastolic volume [standardized mean difference -0.24 (95% CI -0.94 to 0.45); P = 0.49]. Inconsistent reporting of changes in diastolic dysfunction did not allow for any meaningful analysis or interpretation.

CONCLUSIONS: The evidence does not support the notion that uraemic cardiomyopathy is reversible by renal transplantation. However, the evidence is limited by methodological weaknesses, which should be considered when interpreting these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2045-2057
Number of pages13
JournalESC heart failure
Issue number3
Early online date15 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. ESC Heart Failure published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society of Cardiology.


  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Ventricles/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left


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