Lung and heart-lung transplantation in patients with end-stage cystic fibrosis: The Stanford experience

Luca A. Vricella, John M. Karamichalis, Shahzad Ahmad, Robert C. Robbins, Richard I. Whyte, Bruce A. Reitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background. Bilateral lung (BLTx) and heart-lung transplantation have gained wide acceptance as treatment of end-stage lung disease from cystic fibrosis. We reviewed our 13-year experience with thoracic transplantation for cystic fibrosis with an operative approach that favors use of cardiopulmonary bypass for BLTx. Methods. Sixty-four patients with cystic fibrosis underwent heart-lung transplantation (n = 22, 34.4%) or BLTx (n = 42, 65.6%) between 1988 and 2000. Mean age and weight at transplantation were 29 ± 8 years and 51 ± 11 kg, respectively. Mean follow-up for survivors was 4.4 ± 3.6 years. Immunosuppression regimen included cyclosporine, tapered corticosteroids, azathioprine, and induction therapy with OKT3 (murine monoclonal antibodies) or rabbit antithymocyte globulin. Cardiopulmonary bypass was used in all but 5 patients (7.8%). However, in 8 (19%) of the 42 patients having BLTx, only the grafting of the second lung was performed with cardiopulmonary bypass. Results. The operative mortality rate was 1.6%. The actuarial survival rates at 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years were 93.2%, 77.7%, 61.8%, and 48.1%, respectively, with no significant difference between BLTx and heart-lung transplantation. The major hospital complications were pneumonia (n = 11, 17.2%) and bleeding (n = 8, 12.5%). Clinically significant reperfusion injury was observed in 6 patients, 3 of whom required reintubation. Freedom from acute lung rejection beyond 1 year was 47.7%. One patient underwent late retransplantation, and 4 required bronchial stenting. Obliterative bronchiolitis accounted for eight (50.0%) of 16 late deaths. Conclusions. Though postoperative bleeding and pneumonia are still of concern, satisfactory early and intermediate-term results can be expected in patients undergoing BLTx or heart-lung transplantation for cystic fibrosis. Cardiopulmonary bypass can be used for BLTx with no adverse impact on intermediate and long-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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