A quality improvement program to reduce the time on the lung transplant waiting list at the Nantes University Hospital

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2018 Feb 8;13(Suppl 1):11. doi: 10.1186/s13023-017-0748-4.


Background: In 2010, the time on the lung transplant waiting list in Nantes University Hospital (NUH) was 9.2 months, compared to a French national median of about 4 months. The NUH transplant unit performs both heart and lung transplantations, which can be seen as competing activities. To fix the problem, the adult Cystic Fibrosis (CF) team decided to engage in the French CF Quality Improvement Program (QIP PHARE-M) in 2012. The objectives were: i) To reduce the time on the lung transplant waiting list at the Nantes Transplant Unit by increasing the number of lung transplants per year twhile maintaining a 5-year survival rate above the French national average. ii) To improve the organization of the lung transplant access process and the quality of the waiting time for patients.

Methods: A quality controller was involved as the QIP referent to coach the CF quality team, analyze the pre-transplant process, and set up meaningful measures. Benchmarking was performed with other transplant units, and staff discussions were held with the Transplant Team (TT) to assess the outcomes of rejected donor lungs. Negotiations were made with the hospital administration. Plan, Do, Study and Act cycles were used to redesign the pre-transplant assessment in connection with the CF centers (CFC) referring patients to the NUH transplant unit.

Results: i) The flow of patients has been reorganized, decreasing the time spent in surgical intensive care by increasing the number of beds in the intensive care unit, and a chest physician has been recruited ii) The number of organs rejected has been reduced iii) Lung transplant activity has increased to 20-25 transplants per year, and the median waiting time was reduced to 3.5 months for patients transplanted in 2014 and to 1.85 months for patients transplanted in 2015 iv) Added-value activities including education, information, and psychosocial support are now offered to patients during the waiting time.

Conclusion: The QIP PHARE-M, including coaching by a quality-engineer, has helped our adult CF center address its specific lung transplant issues and redesign the lung transplant process for both local patients and patients referred by other CFC.

Keywords: Cystic fibrosis; Lung transplant list; Lung transplantation; Quality improvement program; Waiting time on lung transplant list.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Hospitals, University / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Waiting Lists*