Airway stenoses after lung transplantation: Management with expanding metal stents

R. Higgins, K. McNeil, C. Dennis, A. Parry, S. Large, S. A.M. Nashef, F. C. Wells, C. Flower, J. Wallwork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Success in lung transplantation has been hindered by airway complications, usually as a result of anastomotic ischemia and stenosis. We report our experience with expanding metal stents in managing airway stenoses after lung transplantation. From April 1984 through November 1993, 46 single lung, 5 double lung, and 154 heart-lung transplantations were performed at Papworth Hospital. All patients received immunosuppression with azathioprine, cyclosporine, methylprednisolone, and induction antithymocyte globulin. Fourteen patients (nine single lung, two double lung, and three heart-lung) had an airway stenosis requiring a stent. The most common features were shortness of breath, wheezing or stridor, and a fall in pulmonary function tests (11 patients). Three patients had pneumonia. Airway stenosis was diagnosed on bronchoscopy an average of 61 days after transplantation (range 3 to 245 days). Stent placement occurred an average of 18 days after the diagnosis (range 2 to 84 days). One heart-lung transplant recipient received a silicone rubber stent. All other patients received expanding metal stents. Six patients required multiple stent placements. After stent placement the average increase in the forced expiratory volume in 1 second was 117%. Infection complicated the stenoses in 12 patients. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus were the most common pathogens, each occurring in six cases. Multiple pathogens were isolated in seven cases. Three patients died as a direct consequence of their airway problems. Two died of pneumonia despite stenting, and a third died of acute occlusion of the silicone rubber stent. Expanding metal stents are an effective treatment of airway stenoses in lung transplant recipients. Patients with suspected airway problems should be referred for early bronchoscopy with the potential for stent placement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)774-778
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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