Background: Lung donors are scarce and lung transplantation resources are limited. Because urgent lung transplantation (ULT) is assumed to yield poor results, its use is controversial. We assessed the outcome of patients who received ULT seeking to determine effectiveness and risk factors.
Patients and method: We collected data from every ULT performed in Spain during 5 years (1998-2002). The survival of patients was studied using Kaplan-Meier, Cox regression, and chi-square statistical analyses. We compared outcomes and perioperative mortality (over 30 days) for ULT procedures, analyzing the influence of certain variables (age, type of transplant, diagnosis, indication, and time on waiting list).
Results: Among 109 patients proposed for the procedure, 73 ULT were performed during the period. The most frequent indications were pulmonary fibrosis (19 cases) and cystic fibrosis (19 cases), showing the worst and the better survival rates, respectively. The bad prognosis, determined mainly by per operative mortality rate (35.62%), was significantly affected by age (worse for patients older than 40 years) and type of LT (single worse than double; P < .05). A longer time waiting for ULT also showed a worse prognosis (P < .005).
Conclusions: Long-term survival after ULT shows that the procedure is effective and efficient for a select group of patients, despite the high per operative risk. ULT should be reserved for younger patients. It also requires performance in a short period (just a few days), initially rejecting a single lung transplant, provided that the patient is adequately monitored.