Airway complications after lung transplantation: treatment and long-term outcome

Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Mar;71(3):989-93; discussion 993-4. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(00)02127-5.


Background: Airway complications are a significant cause of morbidity after lung transplantation. Effective treatment reduces the impact of these complications.

Methods: Data from 123 lung (99 single, 24 bilateral) transplants were reviewed. Potential risk factors for airway complications were analyzed. Stenoses were treated with expanding metal (Gianturco) stents.

Results: Mean follow-up was 749 days. Thirty-five complications developed in 28 recipients (complication rate: 23.8%/anastomosis). Mean time to diagnosis was 47 days. Only Aspergillus infection and airway necrosis were significantly associated with development of complications (p < 0.00001 and p < 0.03, respectively). Stenosis was diagnosed an average of 42 days posttransplant. Average decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was 39%. Eighteen patients (13 single and 5 bilateral) required stent insertion. Mean increase in FEV1 poststenting was 87%. Two stent patients died from infectious complications. Six patients required further intervention. Long-term survival and FEV1 did not differ from nonstented patients.

Conclusions: Aspergillus and airway necrosis are associated with the development of airway complications. Expanding metal stents are an effective long-term treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Diseases / epidemiology
  • Bronchial Diseases / etiology
  • Bronchial Diseases / pathology
  • Bronchial Diseases / surgery*
  • Constriction, Pathologic / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Stents*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome