Learning curve in tracheal allotransplantation

Am J Transplant. 2012 Sep;12(9):2538-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2012.04125.x. Epub 2012 Jun 8.


The first vascularized tracheal allotransplantation was performed in 2008. Immunosuppression was stopped after forearm implantation and grafting of the recipient mucosa to the internal site of the transplant. Nine months after forearm implantation, the allograft was transplanted to the tracheal defect on the radial blood vessels. Since then, four additional patients have undergone tracheal allotransplantation, three (patients 2-4) for long-segment stenosis and one (patient 5) for a low-grade chondrosarcoma. Our goal was to reduce the time between forearm implantation and orthotopic transplantation and to determine a protocol for safe withdrawal of immunosuppressive therapy. Following forearm implantation, all transplants became fully revascularized over 2 months. Withdrawal of immunosuppression began 4 months after graft implantation and was completed within 6 weeks in cases 2-4. Repopulation of the mucosal lining by recipient cells, to compensate for the necrosis of the donor mucosa, was not complete. This resulted in partial loss of the allotransplant in patients 2-4. In patient 5, additional measures promoting recipient cell repopulation were made. The trachea may be used as a composite tissue allotransplant after heterotopic revascularization in the forearm. Measures to maximize recipient cell repopulation may be important in maintaining the viability of the transplant after cessation of immunosuppression.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Learning*
  • Middle Aged
  • Trachea / transplantation*
  • Transplantation, Homologous*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents