Body mass index in lung transplant candidates: a contra-indication to transplant or not?

Transplant Proc. 2014 Jun;46(5):1506-10. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2014.04.004.


Background: According to International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation criteria, high body mass index (BMI; ≥ 30 kg/m(2)) is a relative contraindication for lung transplantation (LT). On the other hand, low BMI may be associated with worse outcome. We investigated the influence of pre-LT BMI on survival after LT in a single-center study.

Methods: Patients were divided according to the World Health Organization criteria into 4 groups: BMI <18.5 kg/m(2) (underweight), BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m(2) (normal weight), BMI 25-29.9 kg/m(2) (overweight), and BMI ≥ 30 kg/m(2) (obesity). An additional analysis was made per underlying disease.

Results: BMI was determined in a cohort of 546 LT recipients, of which 28% had BMI <18.5 kg/m(2). Underweight resulted in similar survival (P = .28) compared with the normal weight group. Significantly higher mortality was found in overweight (P = .016) and obese patients (P = .031) compared with the normal-weight group. Subanalysis of either underweight (P = .19) or obese COPD patients (P = .50) did not reveal worse survival. In patients with interstitial lung disease, obesity was associated with increased mortality (P = .031) compared with the normal-weight group. In cystic fibrosis patients, underweight was not associated with a higher mortality rate (P = .12) compared with the normal-weight group.

Conclusions: Low pre-LT BMI did not influence survival rate in our cohort, independently from underlying disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies