Study objectives: To characterize the course of patients with advanced sarcoidosis who have been listed for lung transplantation and to identify prognostic factors for death while they are on the waiting list.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Tertiary-care university hospital.
Patients: Forty-three patients with sarcoidosis who have been listed for lung transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
Methods: A multivariable explanatory analysis using a Cox proportional hazards model was performed to determine risk factors that are independently associated with mortality while patients await transplantation.
Results: Twenty-three of the 43 patients (53%) died while awaiting transplantation. The survival rate of listed patients (as determined by the Kaplan-Meier method) was 66% at 1 year, 40% at 2 years, and 31% at 3 years. In a univariate analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with death on the waiting list: PaO(2) < or = 60 mm Hg (relative risk [RR], 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 9.3); mean pulmonary artery pressure > or = 35 mm Hg (RR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.1 to 9.5); cardiac index < or = 2 L/min/m(2) (RR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.2 to 6.6), and right atrial pressure (RAP) > or = 15 mm Hg (RR, 7.6; 95% CI, 3.0 to 19.3). Multivariable analysis revealed that RAP > or = 15 mm Hg was the only independent prognostic variable (RR, 5.2; 95% CI, 1.6 to 16.7; p = 0.006). Twelve patients underwent lung transplantation. Survival after transplantation determined by the Kaplan-Meier method was 62% at both 1 and 2 years, and 50% at 3 years.
Conclusions: Patients with advanced sarcoidosis awaiting lung transplantation have a high mortality rate with a median survival of < 2 years. Mortality is most closely linked to elevated RAP. While earlier referral may diminish the mortality rate of patients on the waiting list for transplantation, further improvements in posttransplantation outcomes will be necessary to ensure that this procedure truly bestows a survival benefit.