Objective: Lung transplantation is a valid therapeutic approach for patients with bronchiectasis. The objective of the present study was to evaluate our experience with bronchiectasis patients and compare the results in patients with cystic fibrosis to results in those with bronchiectasis caused by other processes.
Patients and method: We carried out a retrospective study of bronchiectasis patients treated by lung transplantation in order to analyze demographic, functional and microbiological characteristics before and after transplantation, and survival.
Results: From 1991 to 2002 lung transplants were performed on 171 patients, 44 of whom had suppurative lung disease (27 had cystic fibrosis and 17 had bronchiectasis caused by other processes). There were no significant differences in the demographic variables between the 2 groups. At transplantation, lung function variables showed severe bronchial obstruction (mean [SD] forced expiratory volume in 1 second of 808  mL and forced vital capacity of 1,390  mL) and respiratory insufficiency (PaO2 at 52  mm Hg and PaCO2 at 48  mm Hg). Only PaO2 was significantly lower in patients with bronchiectasis from causes other than cystic fibrosis. Airway colonization was present in 91% of the patients; Pseudomonas spp germs were detected in 64% of the cases and were multiresistant in 9%. In the early postoperative period germs were isolated in 59% of the cases, half of which involved the same germ as had been isolated before transplantation. One year after lung transplantation, 34% of the patients continued to have bronchial colonization. Survival at 1 year was 79% and at 5 years, 49%, with no significant difference between the patients with cystic fibrosis and those with other suppurative diseases, nor between the patients with and without Pseudomonas colonization. Only 2 patients had died of bacterial pneumonia at 1 month after transplantation.
Conclusions: Although airway colonization in patients with suppurative diseases complicates postoperative management, the results in terms of survival are good.