Pre-transplant corticosteroid use and outcome in lung transplantation

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2001 Mar;20(3):304-9. doi: 10.1016/s1053-2498(00)00316-8.


Background: The early experience of lung transplantation was plagued with airway anastomotic complications. The use of corticosteroids in the pre-transplant period has been implicated as a major contributing factor in bronchial dehiscence, and many patients have been denied transplantation on the basis of corticosteroid use. We conducted the current study to assess the risks associated with pre-transplant corticosteroid use.

Methods: We analyzed records of 73 single- and bilateral-single lung transplant recipients who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or alpha(1)-antitrypsin deficiency as their underlying disease from 1986 to 1996. Twenty-six patients (steroid group) received daily corticosteroid therapy (prednisone, 1.5 to 40 mg/day) up to the time of transplantation, whereas 47 patients did not receive chronic corticosteroids and had no corticosteroid therapy within 3 months of transplantation (non-steroid group).

Results: The demographic profiles of the 2 groups were comparable. We noted no statistical significances in length of hospital stay, duration of intensive care, and post-operative pulmonary function. The rates of cytomegalovirus infection, acute rejection, bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, and survival were also similar. The non-steroid group seemed to have a higher rate of bronchial stenosis at 3 years (29% vs 6%, p = 0.03). Bronchial dehiscence did not occur in either study group.

Conclusions: Pre-transplant use of corticosteroids does not adversely affect outcome following lung transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraindications
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation* / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisone