Evolving Indications for Heart-Lung Transplant in Spain

Transplant Proc. 2022 Nov;54(9):2500-2502. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2022.10.003. Epub 2022 Oct 29.


Background: The outcomes of heart-lung transplant (HLT) are worse than those of heart transplant (HT) and lung transplant alone; this and the availability of mechanical assistance have meant that the indications for HLT have been changing. This study aims to analyze the evolution of indications for HLT in a country of 47 million inhabitants.

Methods: We performed a retrospective observational study of all HLTs performed in Spain (performed in 2 centers) from 1990 to 2020. The total number of patients included was 1751 (HT 1673 and HLT 78). After clinical adjustment, overall survival was compared between the 2 groups. Seven etiological subgroups were considered within the HLT group: (1) cardiomyopathy with pulmonary hypertension (CM + PH);, (2) Eisenmenger syndrome, (3) congenital heart disease without Eisenmenger syndrome, (4) idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), (5) cystic fibrosis, (6) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and/or emphysema), and (7) diffuse interstitial lung disease.

Results: There were a large number of differences between patients with HLT vs HT. HLT had a 2.69-fold increased probability of death in the first year compared with HT. The indications for HLT have changed over the years. In the recent period the indications are mainly congenital heart disease and Eisenmenger syndrome, with some cases of CM + PH. Other indications for HLT have virtually disappeared, mainly lung diseases (IPAH, COPD, cystic fibrosis). Median survival was low in CM + PH (18 days), diffuse interstitial lung disease (29 days), and ischemic heart disease (114 days); intermediate in Eisenmenger syndrome (600 days); and longer in IPAH, COPD and/or emphysema, and cystic fibrosis.

Conclusions: HLT is a procedure with high mortality. This and mechanical assists mean that the indications have changed over the years. Etiological analysis is of utmost interest to take advantage of organs and improve survival.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Fibrosis* / surgery
  • Eisenmenger Complex* / surgery
  • Emphysema*
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Heart Defects, Congenital*
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / surgery
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial*
  • Lung Transplantation* / methods
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / surgery
  • Spain