Background: Both undernutrition and overnutrition can affect the quality of life and survival of patients with pulmonary disease and lead to quantitative and functional alterations of fat-free mass (FFM). This longitudinal study determines the changes in weight, FFM, and body fat before and up to 4 years after lung transplant (LTR).
Methods: Height, weight, and body composition measurements (bioelectrical impedance) were obtained in 37 LTR patients. FFM and body fat were measured before and at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 48 months after LTR.
Results: Weight changed by +16.6%, +3.2%, -0.2%, and -3.2% and FFM by +14.0%, +2.5%, -0.3%, and -1.0% during years 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. A diagnosis of obliterative bronchiolitis after LTR was associated with loss of body weight, FFM, and body fat, compared with stable weight or gain in weight, FFM, and body fat in obliterative bronchiolitis-negative subjects; 76.2% and 85.7%, and 28% and 38% of men and women, respectively, demonstrated low FFM at 1 month and at 2 years after LTR, respectively. The FFM change was higher (39% of weight) during year 1 than during year 2 (25%) or year 3 (21%).
Conclusions: After LTR, patients gained weight, FFM, and body fat, and two-thirds reached normal levels of FFM by year 2. A weight increase resulted in an FFM increase. Contrary to studies after heart or liver transplantation, our results suggest that despite posttransplant infections and grafts rejection, LTR permits FFM recovery.