Background: Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) as a bridge to lung transplantation was first advocated in 1995 and published studies have supported the concept but with limited data. The risk-benefit tradeoffs of the combined procedure have not been thoroughly examined, although substantial information regarding LVRS has emerged.
Methods: Of 177 patients who underwent lung transplantation for end-stage emphysema between 2002 and 2009 at our center, 25 had prior LVRS (22 bilateral and 3 unilateral). Lung transplantation was performed 22.9±15.9 months after LVRS. We compared in-hospital morbidity, functional capacity, and long-term outcomes of patients who underwent LVRS before lung transplantation with a matched cohort of patients without prior LVRS to assess the influence of LVRS on posttransplantation morbidity and mortality.
Results: The incidence of postoperative bleeding requiring reexploration and the incidence of renal dysfunction requiring dialysis were higher in patients with LVRS before lung transplantation. Posttransplantation peak forced expiratory volume in 1 s was worse in patients with LVRS before lung transplantation (56.7% vs. 78.8%; P<0.05). Five-year survival was not significantly different (59.7% in patients with LVRS before lung transplantation vs. 66.2% in patients with lung transplantation alone). In multivariate analysis, age more than 65 years, prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass time, and severe pulmonary hypertension were significant predictors for mortality (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Although LVRS remains a viable option as a bridge to lung transplantation in appropriately selected patients, LVRS before lung transplantation can impart substantial morbidity and compromised functional capacity after lung transplantation. LVRS should not be easily considered as a bridge to transplantation for all lung transplant candidates.