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Statin Treatment Linked to New Onset Diabetes in Liver Transplant Patients

Liver transplant recipients must be careful when diagnosed with NODAT (New Onset Diabetes After Transplantation) and dyslipidemia because of the effect these conditions have on graft and patient survival….

In the general population, when a patient is diagnosed with high cholesterol or dyslipidemia they are usually prescribed a statin but statins have also been associated with increasing the risk of diabetes. In a study led by Cho et al, the association between statin therapy and NODAT in liver transplant patients was analyzed. 

New onset diabetes mellitus after transplantation (NODAT) is a serious and common complication following solid organ transplantation. NODAT has been reported to occur in 2% to 53% of all solid organ transplants. Kidney transplant recipients who develop NODAT have variably been reported to be at increased risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events and other adverse outcomes including infection, reduced patient survival, graft rejection, and accelerated graft loss compared with those who do not develop diabetes.

The study included 154 liver transplant patients who had surgery between the ages of 20 to 75 and who had no previous history of diabetes. The incidence of NODAT was analyzed among the patients who were receiving a statin or who had associated risk factors. Fasting blood glucose levels and a lipid panel was obtained from the patients at baseline and then at 6 months, 12 months, and yearly afterwards.

It was found that the group of individuals on a statin had a significantly higher incidence of NODAT than the group that was not on a statin. According to the authors, "there were no significant differences in age, body mass index, corticosteroid cumulative dose, prevalence of hypertension and impaired fasting glucose before LT, fasting serum glucose and total cholesterol levels between the groups at baseline."

It was determined that statin treatment greater than 6 months was a risk factor for development of NODAT in liver transplant patients.

Presented at EASD Barcelona, September 2013. Cho Y, et al. Statin therapy is associated with development of new onset diabetes after transplantation (NODAT) in liver recipients. Abstract.