Acute native lung hyperinflation is not associated with poor outcomes after single lung transplant for emphysema

David Weill, Fernando Torres, Tony N. Hodges, Jennifer J. Olmos, Martin R. Zamora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background: Single-lung transplantation for emphysema may be complicated by acute native lung hyperinflation (ANLH) with hemodynamic and ventilatory compromise. Some groups advocate the routine use of independent lung ventilation, double-lung transplant, or right-lung transplant with or without contralateral lung volume reduction surgery in high-risk patients. The goal of this study was to determine the incidence of ANLH and identify its potential predictors. Methods: We reviewed 51 consecutive single-lung transplants for emphysema. Symptomatic ANLH was defined as mediastinal shift and diaphragmatic flattening on chest x-ray with hemodynamic or respiratory failure requiring cardiopressor agents or independent lung ventilation. Preoperative and postoperative physiologic and hemodynamic data were analyzed from both recipients and donors. Results: Sixteen patients developed radiographic ANLH; 8 were symptomatic, 2 severely so. We could not identify high-risk patients before transplant by pulmonary function tests, predicted donor total lung capacity (TLC)/actual recipient TLC ratio, pulmonary artery pressures, or the side transplanted. There was a trend toward an increased incidence of symptomatic ANLH in patients with bullous emphysema on chest computed tomography, but this was accounted for primarily by patients with α1-antitrypsin deficiency (4/13 vs 4/38 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, P = 0.10). No patient required cardiopulmonary bypass or inhaled nitric oxide intraoperatively. Patients with acute native lung hyperinflation did not have increased reperfusion edema as measured by chest x-ray score or PaO2/F(I)O2 ratio. Compared to patients without ANLH, symptomatic patients had longer ventilator times (64.9 ± 14.6 hours vs 40.4 ± 3.9, P = 0.02, ANOVA) and longer lengths of stay (19.3 ± 2.1 days vs 13.7 ± 1.3, P = 0.07), but 30-day survival was 100%. Two symptomatic patients required independent lung ventilation or inhaled nitric oxide; the others were managed with decreased minute ventilation, early extubation, and cardiopressor agents. No patient required early lung volume reduction surgery or retransplantation. Acute native lung hyperinflation had no effect on FEV1 or 6-minute walk results at 1 year; survival at 1, 2, or 3 years; or the rate of acute rejection, infection, or bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome greater than grade 2.ConclusionAcute native lung hyperinflation is common radiographically but is rarely clinically severe. Although there was a trend toward an increase in symptomatic ANLH in patients with bullous emphysema, a high-risk group could not be identified preoperatively. Our results do not support the routine use of bilateral lung transplant, the exclusive use of right single-lung transplant, simultaneous lung volume reduction surgery, or independent lung ventilation for patients with emphysema. Management strategies should be employed that limit overdistension of the native lung and lead to early extubation. Copyright (C) 1999 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1087
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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