Reperfusion injury significantly impacts clinical outcome after pulmonary transplantation

Robert C. King, Oliver A.R. Binns, Filiberto Rodriguez, R. Chai Kanithanon, Thomas M. Daniel, William D. Spotnitz, Curtis G. Tribble, Irving L. Kron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

299 Scopus citations


Background. Reperfusion injury after pulmonary transplantation can contribute significantly to postoperative pulmonary dysfunction. We hypothesized that posttransplantation reperfusion injury would result in an increase in both in-hospital mortality and morbidity. We also hypothesized that the incidence of reperfusion injury would be dependent upon the cause of recipient lung disease and the interval of donor allograft ischemia. Methods. We performed a retrospective study of all lung transplant recipients at our institution from June 1990 until June 1998. One hundred patients received 120 organs during this time period. We compared two groups of patients in this study: those experiencing a significant reperfusion injury (22%) and those who did not (78%). Results. In-hospital mortality was significantly greater in patients experiencing reperfusion injury (40.9% versus 11.7%, p < 0.02). Posttransplantation reperfusion injury also resulted in prolonged ventilation (393.5 versus 56.8 hours, p < 0.001) and an increased length of stay in both the intensive care unit (22.2 versus 10.5 days, p < 0.01) and in the hospital (48.8 versus 25.6 days, p < 0.03). The incidence of reperfusion injury could not be attributed to length of donor organ ischemia (221.5 versus 252.9 minutes, p < 0.20). The clinical impact of reperfusion injury was significantly greater in patients undergoing transplantation for preexisting pulmonary hypertension (6/14) than those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema alone (6/54) (42.9% versus 11.1%, p < 0.012). Conclusions. Clinically significant pulmonary reperfusion injury increased in-hospital mortality and morbidity resulting in prolonged ventilation, length of stay in the intensive care unit, and cost of hospitalization. The incidence of reperfusion injury was not dependent upon the duration of donor organ ischemia but increased with the presence of preoperative pulmonary hypertension. These findings suggest that recipient pathophysiology and donor allograft quality may play important roles in determining the incidence of reperfusion injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1681-1685
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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