BACKGROUND: Calcium channel blockers may ameliorate the decline in renal function caused by calcineurin inhibitors in lung transplantation (LTX) recipients. We hypothesized that pre-operative and 12-week post-operative treatment with the calcium channel blocker felodipine would reduce the decline in glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

METHODS: In this prospective, randomized, double-blind trial, 39 LTX recipients were transplanted and received placebo (n = 19; GFR, 102 ml/min/1.73 m2 [range, 91-113 ml/min/1.73 m2]) or felodipine (n = 20, GFR, 96 ml/min/1.73 m2 [range, 88-104 ml/min/1.73 m2]). Pre-operative treatment was titrated post-operatively to 10 mg or the maximum tolerable dose. The primary end-point was the change in GFR using Cr-51-labeled EDTA from LTX to 12 weeks thereafter, and follow-up was 52 weeks.

RESULTS: The treatment group showed an absolute mean decline in GFR of 31 ml/min/1.73 m2 (95% CI: -40 to 22 ml/min/1.73 m2), whereas that of the placebo group was 48 ml/min/1.73 m2 (95% confidence interval [CI]: -56 to 40 ml/min/1.73 m2). Thus, the difference between groups at 12 weeks was 17 ml/min/1.73 m2 (95% CI: 4-29 ml/min/1.73 m2; p = 0.01). Half of the patients were unable to complete the 3-month primary follow-up, and the analysis includes these patients by intention-to-treat. After 52 weeks (40 weeks after termination of treatment), the treatment effect was maintained at 12 ml/min/1.73 m2 (95% CI: 0-24 ml/min/1.73 m2, p = 0.05). The number of days with registered hypotension was significantly higher in the felodipine group than in the placebo group (39 days vs 13 days, rate ratio: 2.9 [95% CI: 1.5-5.3]).

CONCLUSIONS: Use of felodipine in select patients was associated with greater preservation in renal function early (90 days) after LTX. The observed benefits were attenuated by 1 year, although trends in better renal function were noted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)541-550
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • calcineurin inhibitors
  • calcium channel blockers
  • glomerular filtration rate
  • lung transplantation
  • renal function


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