November 27, 2009 - Study provides first direct evidence of cigarette smoke's role in the death of transplanted hearts in either the donor, recipient, or both. The study, conducted in rats, showed that tobacco smoke leads to accelerated immune system rejection of the transplanted heart, heightened vascular inflammation and increased oxidative stress, and a reduction in the transplanted organ's chance of survival by 33-57 percent.
The study involved exposure to levels of tobacco equivalent to that of a habitual, light-to-moderate-range smoker and included comparisons between smoking and non-smoking donors and recipients.
PAPER: Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Either the Donor or Recipient Before Transplantation Accelerates Cardiac Allograft Rejection, Vascular Inflammation, and Graft Loss ,
Khanna AK, Xu J, Uber PA, Burke AP, Baquet C, Mehra MR., Circulation, Nov 2009; 120: 1814 - 1821. (Originally published online Oct 19, 2009), ABSTRACT..
Studies from the mid-1990s have shown a connection between cigarette smoking and cardiovascular diseases. More recent studies have found a connection between smoking and the outcome of heart and other organ transplantation in recipients who resumed smoking after their transplants.
Reference: Tobacco smoke exposure before heart transplantation may increase the risk of transplant failure, EurekAlert, 11/24/2009.