Allograft colonization and infections with pseudomonas in cystic fibrosis lung transplant recipients

Chest. 1998 May;113(5):1235-43. doi: 10.1378/chest.113.5.1235.


Objective: To assess the incidence of pseudomonal infection, colonization, and inflammation in the allograft of lung transplant recipients with cystic fibrosis (CF) as compared with recipients with other end-stage lung disease.

Design: Retrospective review.

Setting: University medical center transplant service.

Patients: All patients with CF and chronic pseudomonal infection (n=62) and patients with nonseptic end-stage lung disease (n=52) receiving a double lung transplant between October 1983 and March 1996.

Results: Fifty lung transplant recipients with CF survived beyond postoperative day (POD) 15 and were subject to sequential bronchoscopy with BAL. Forty-four CF lung transplant recipients had Pseudomonas isolated from the allograft by median POD 15 as compared with 21 non-CF lung transplant recipients (p<0.001) with isolation at median POD 158 (p<0.0001). Thirteen CF lung transplant recipients had histologic evidence of infection when Pseudomonas was isolated as compared with only three of the non-CF lung transplant recipients (p<0.01). These infections occurred earlier in the CF lung transplant recipients (median POD 10 vs 261) (p<0.01). When compared with non-CF lung transplant recipients, CF lung transplant recipients with Pseudomonas isolated but without concomitant histologic infection (colonized) were demonstrated to have increased number of polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) in the BAL fluid recovered from the allograft (17.66+/-24.94 x 10(6) cells vs 3.46+/-4.73 x 10(6)) (p<0.05). Non-CF lung transplant recipients who became colonized with Pseudomonas also had a greater number of PMNs recovered when compared with non-CF lung transplant recipients who did not have Pseudomonas (22.32+/-34.00 x 10(6) cells vs 0.21+/-0.18 x 10(6)) (p<0.01). Nine of 32 (28%) lung transplant recipients with CF have died from pseudomonal allograft infections, but this is no greater than 4 of 21 (19%) deaths related to Pseudomonas infection in recipients without CF (p=0.34).

Conclusions: Isolation of Pseudomonas from the lung allograft occurs more frequently and earlier after transplantation in recipients with CF. While infections related to Pseudomonas also occur more frequently in recipients with CF, there is no increase in mortality. There is an intense inflammatory response in the lung allograft associated with the isolation of Pseudomonas in recipients with and without CF.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / complications
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / microbiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology*
  • Lung Diseases / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections / epidemiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors