Does donor arterial partial pressure of oxygen affect outcomes after lung transplantation? A review of more than 12,000 lung transplants

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Apr;143(4):919-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.01.044. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


Introduction: In lung transplantation (LTx), the arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO(2)) is traditionally regarded as critical information for assessment of donor lung function. Each center sets its own thresholds; by convention, a donor PaO(2) of less than 300 mm Hg has been considered disqualifying. Limited literature exists to support such a practice. We analyzed all LTxs performed in the United States over a 9-year period to assess the effect of donor PaO(2) on graft survival.

Methods: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database was queried for LTx (January 2000-November 2009). Of 12,545 LTx performed, 12,045 (96%) had donor PaO(2) data on a fraction of inspired oxygen of 1.0, recorded at the time of procurement.

Results: Mean donor PaO(2) was 407 ± 140 mm Hg. The majority of LTxs had a donor PaO(2) greater than 300 mm Hg (9593 (80%]) whereas PaO(2) was 200 mm Hg or less in 1830 (15%) and 201 to 300 in 582 (5%) donors. Use of donors with a PaO(2) of less than 200 increased over time from 5% (45) in 2000 to 21% (295) in 2009 (P = .002). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed no difference in graft survival with differing donor PaO(2)s, irrespective of whether patients had a single or double LTx. A Cox multivariable analysis of 21 donor characteristics demonstrated that donor PaO(2) had no association with graft survival.

Conclusions: Donor PaO(2) levels did not affect graft survival. The use of donors with lower PaO(2)s could substantially increase the donor pool. We are not suggesting that donor PaO(2) is not important when assessing potential lung donors but its level of importance in regard to other criteria appears less than previously believed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases as Topic
  • Donor Selection*
  • Female
  • Graft Survival*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inhalation
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Partial Pressure
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Oxygen