Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism after lung transplantation

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1995 Aug;110(2):540-4. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5223(95)70252-0.


The incidence of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism after lung or heart-lung transplantation has not been well defined. Pulmonary embolism may be of particular concern in the postoperative period owing to an inadequately developed or absent collateral bronchial circulation and potential risk of pulmonary infarction. Fourteen (12.1%) of 116 patients undergoing either lung (n = 87) or heart-lung (n = 29) transplantation developed thromboembolic complications 10 days to 36 months after operation. Deep vein thrombosis developed in nine patients, including three with upper body thrombosis related to indwelling central venous catheters. Seven patients (6%) had pulmonary embolism, and three of them died. Resolution of pulmonary embolism was successfully accomplished by selective pulmonary artery infusion of urokinase in three patients without complications. Our experience indicates that deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are significant problems after lung transplantation. Mortality is high in those patients in whom pulmonary embolism develops. Therefore, a comprehensive prevention protocol is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy
  • Thrombophlebitis / diagnosis
  • Thrombophlebitis / etiology*
  • Thrombophlebitis / therapy