Objectives: This study sought to determine the immediate effects of lung transplantation on right ventricular morphology and function in patients with variable degrees of pulmonary hypertension and to evaluate these features as potential markers of immediate outcome.
Background: Selected lung transplant recipients with severe preoperative pulmonary hypertension have previously been shown to have a reduction in right ventricular size and improved function at follow-up evaluation.
Methods: Thirty-two consecutive patients (mean [+/- SD] age 44 +/- 11 years) were prospectively classified into three groups according to their pretransplantation pulmonary artery systolic pressure: severe pulmonary hypertensive group > or = 75 mm Hg, intermediate pulmonary hypertensive group 40 to 74 mm Hg and non-pulmonary hypertensive group < 40 mm Hg. Hemodynamic and transesophageal echocardiographic variables were measured immediately before and after lung transplantation.
Results: Pulmonary artery systolic and mean pressures markedly decreased after transplantation in the severe pulmonary hypertensive group (from 115 +/- 26 to 45 +/- 19 mm Hg and from 76 +/- 14 to 31 +/- 11 mm Hg, respectively, both p < 0.05). Mean pulmonary artery pressure decreased in the intermediate group (from 34 +/- 7 to 26 +/- 7 mm Hg, p < 0.05). Right ventricular end-diastolic area, end-systolic area and eccentricity index decreased in the severe pulmonary hypertensive group after transplantation. End-diastolic area also decreased in the intermediate pulmonary hypertensive group. Right ventricular fractional area change was not significantly different between groups and did not change consistently after transplantation. Three patients with severe pulmonary hypertension who had continued depression of right ventricular function after transplantation died in the immediate postoperative period.
Conclusions: Lung transplantation is associated with an immediate decrease in pulmonary artery pressures and right ventricular size and normalization of septal geometry but variable changes in right ventricular function. Continued depression of right ventricular fractional area change may be a potential marker of poor outcome.