Objective: Over the last decades improvements in medical therapies have delayed the progression of lung disease in cystic fibrosis (CF). However, lung disease is still the most common cause of premature death, and lung transplantation today is the only treatment for end-stage lung disease in patients with CF. We present a retrospective review of the outcome of CF patients transplanted in Denmark since start of the national lung transplantation programme in 1992.
Methods: In a 10-year period, 47 patients with CF were listed for lung transplantation; 29 patients underwent transplantation and 18 patients died while waiting for donor organs. Eleven patients received en block double lung transplantation with direct bronchial artery revascularization and 18 patients received bilateral sequential lung transplantation. Median age at transplantation was 29 years (range 11-50).
Results: The perioperative mortality (< or =30 days) was 3.5% (1/29 patients). Actuarial survival of transplanted patients at 1, 3, 5 and 8 years was 89, 80, 80 and 70%, respectively. Actuarial survival of non-transplanted patients on the waiting list at 1 and 2 years was 28 and 11% (P<0.0001). Causes of death of transplanted patients were: respiratory failure on day 7 (n=1), bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (n=2), infection (Cytomegalovirus, Aspergillus fumigatus) (n=2), bronchial anastomosis dehiscence (n=1). Pulmonary function (FEV1% predicted) improved from median 20% (range 13-31) pre-transplant to 71% (range 19-118) after 5 years (P<0.0001). Renal function (51Cr-EDTA clearance) decreased from median 97 ml/min (range 45-190) pre-transplant to 32 ml/min (range 8-84) 6 months after transplantation (P<0.001). Three patients (11%) received dialysis post-transplant of whom two underwent kidney transplantation. Immunosuppressive induction therapy with rabbit-antithymocyte-globulin compared to daclizumab resulted in fewer treatments for acute rejection within the first 3 months post-transplant (P=0.05 at 5-8 weeks). Burkholderia multivorans was present in three patients pre-transplant with satisfying long-term outcome in one patient.
Conclusions: Lung transplantation is a well-established life-extending treatment for patients with CF and end-stage lung disease. The operative mortality is low and CF patients have a significant early survival benefit after lung transplantation. Satisfying long-term results can be achieved in this young and severely ill group of patients.