Traumatically Brain-Injured Donors and the Impact on Lung Transplantation Survival

Todd C. Crawford, Cecillia Lui, J. Trent Magruder, Alejandro Suarez-Pierre, Jinny S. Ha, Robert S. Higgins, Stephen R. Broderick, Christian A. Merlo, Bo S. Kim, Errol L. Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Concern has been raised over inferior lung transplantation survival associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) organ donors. Our purpose was to explore the relationship between TBI donors and lung transplantation survival in the lung allocation score (LAS) era. Methods: We queried the United Network for Organ Sharing Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and identified all adult (≥18 years) lung transplantations performed from May 4, 2005, to December 31, 2015. Recipients were dichotomized based on donor cause of death, TBI versus non-TBI, propensity score across eight variables (final LAS, intensive care unit admission before transplantation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation before transplantation, donor age 50 years or older, cytomegalovirus antibody recipient/donor+, ischemia time, annual center transplantation volume, single versus double lung transplantation), and matched 1:1 without replacement. Our primary outcomes were survival at 1, 3, and 5 years by Kaplan-Meier method. Results: A total of 17,610 patients underwent isolated lung transplantation over the study period at 75 different transplantation centers. TBI was the leading cause of death in the donor population: 47% of all donors. Propensity score matching generated 6,782 well-matched donor TBI versus non-TBI pairs (all covariate p > 0.2). Risk-adjusted survival was similar between recipients of TBI donors versus non-TBI donors at 1 year (86% versus 86%, log-rank p = 0.27), 3 years (68% versus 68%, log-rank p = 0.47), and 5 years (55% versus 54%, log-rank p = 0.40). Conclusions: In the largest analysis of TBI donors and the impact on lung transplantation survival to date, we found similar survival out to 5 years in lung transplant recipients of TBI versus non-TBI donors, alleviating concerns over continued transplantation with this unique donor population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-847
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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