Clinical characteristics, management practices, and outcomes among lung transplant patients with COVID-19

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13 Scopus citations


Background: There are limited data on management strategies and outcomes among lung transplant (LT) patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We implemented management protocols based on the best available evidence and consensus among multidisciplinary teams. The current study reports our experience and outcomes using this protocol-based management strategy. Methods: We included single or bilateral LT patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on nasopharyngeal swab between March 1, 2020, to December 15, 2020 (n = 25; median age: 60, range 20-73 years; M: F 17:8). A group of patients with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection during 2016-18 were included to serve as a comparator group (n = 36). Results: As compared to RSV, patients with COVID-19 were more likely to present with constitutional symptoms, spirometric decline, pulmonary opacities, new or worsening respiratory failure, and need for ventilator support. Patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection were less likely to receive a multimodality treatment strategy, and they experienced worse post-infection lung function loss, functional decline, and three-month survival. A significant proportion of patients with COVID-19 needed readmission for worsening allograft function (36.4%), and chronic kidney disease at initial presentation was associated with this complication. Lower pre-morbid FEV1 appeared to increase the risk of new or worsening respiratory failure, which was associated with worse outcomes. Overall hospital survival was 88% (n = 22). Follow-up data was available for all discharged patients (median: 43.5 days, range 15-287 days). A majority had persistent radiological opacities (19/22, 86.4%), with nearly half of the patients with available post-COVID-19 spirometry showing > 10% loss in lung function (6/13, median loss: 14.5%, range 10%-31%). Conclusions: Despite similar demographic characteristics and predispositions, LT patients with COVID-19 are sicker and experience worse outcomes as compared to RSV. Despite the availability of newer therapeutic agents, COVID-19 continues to be associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-947
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • allograft dysfunction
  • chronic kidney disease
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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