Background Although everolimus potentially improves long-term heart transplantation (HTx) outcomes, its early postoperative safety profile had raised concerns and needs optimization.Methods This 6-month, open-label, multicenter randomized trial was designed to compare the cumulative incidence of a primary composite safety endpoint comprising wound healing delays, pericardial effusion, pleural effusion needing drainage, and renal insufficiency events (estimated glomerular filtration rate 30/mL/min per 1.73 m(2)) in de novo HTx recipients receiving immediate everolimus (EVR-I) (144 hours post-HTx) or delayed everolimus (EVR-D) (4-6 weeks post-HTx with mycophenolate mofetil as a bridge) with reduced-dose cyclosporine A. Cumulative incidence of biopsy-proven rejection 2R, rejection with hemodynamic compromise, graft loss, or death was the secondary composite efficacy endpoint.Results Overall, 181 patients were randomized to the EVR-I (n = 89) or EVR-D (n = 92) arms. Incidence of primary safety endpoint was higher for EVR-I than EVR-D arm (44.9% vs 32.6%; P = 0.191), mainly driven by a higher rate of pericardial effusion (33.7% vs 19.6%; P = 0.04); wound healing delays, acute renal insufficiency events, and pleural effusion occurred at similar frequencies in the study arms. Efficacy failure was not significantly different in EVR-I arm versus EVR-D arm (37.1% vs 28.3%; P = 0.191). Three patients in the EVR-I arm and 1 in the EVR-D arm died. Incidence of clinically significant adverse events leading to discontinuation was higher in EVR-I arm versus EVR-D arm (P = 0.02).Conclusions Compared with immediate initiation, delayed everolimus initiation appeared to provide a clinically relevant early safety benefit in de novo HTx recipients, without compromising efficacy.
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