Hypertension after Kidney Transplantation: A Pathophysiologic Approach
Post-transplant hypertension is associated with decreased graft and patient survival and cardiovascular morbidity. Unfortunately, post-transplant hypertension is often poorly controlled. Important risk factors include immunosuppressive medications, complications of the transplant surgery, delayed graft function, rejection, and donor and recipient risk factors. The effects of immunosuppressive medications are multifactorial including increased vascular and sympathetic tone and salt and fluid retention. The immunosuppressive agents most commonly associated with hypertension are glucocorticoids and calcineurin inhibitors. Drug therapy for hypertension should be based on the comorbidities and pathophysiology. Evidence-based approaches to defining and treating hypertension in renal transplant recipients are predominantly extrapolated from large-scale studies performed in the general population. Thus, there continues to be a need for larger studies examining the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension in renal transplant recipients.