The ripple effect of a complication in lung transplantation: Evidence for increased long-term survival risk

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Objective Lung transplantation is a life-saving procedure for patients who have end-stage lung disease. The frequency and severity of complications have not been fully characterized. We hypothesized that early in-hospital, postoperative complications decrease long-term survival. Methods We retrospectively identified in-hospital complications in lung transplant recipients, from the period January 2007 to October 2013. Complications were graded using the extended Accordion Severity Grading System (ASGS). Complications were categorized by event and organ system. Survival analysis was performed (P <.05) using a time-dependent model. Results Among 748 eligible patients, 3381 independent in-hospital, postoperative complications occurred in 92.78% of patients. Median follow-up was 5.4 years. Complications associated with significant decrease in 5-year survival were: renal (hazard ratio [HR] 2.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.40-4.48); hepatic (HR 4.08, 95% CI 2.86-5.82); cardiac (HR 1.95, 95% CI 1.56-2.45). The maximum ASGS of ≥5 (18.5% vs 73.8%), and the weighted ASGS sum >10 (2.5% vs 73.8%), were found to be significant predictors of long-term survival. Multivariate analysis identified a weighted ASGS sum of >10, and renal, cardiac, and vascular complications as predictors of decreased long-term survival. Conclusions Rigorous delineation of complications after lung transplantation showed that grade 5 ASGS in-hospital postoperative complications, and a weighted ASGS sum >10, were independent predictors of decreased long-term survival well beyond the initial perioperative period. These results may identify important targets for best practice guidelines and quality-of-care measures after lung transplantation.




Chan, E. G., Bianco, V., Richards, T., Hayanga, J. W. A., Morrell, M., Shigemura, N., … D’Cunha, J. (2016). The ripple effect of a complication in lung transplantation: Evidence for increased long-term survival risk. In Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (Vol. 151, pp. 1171–1180). Mosby Inc.

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