Update on early respiratory failure in the lung transplant recipient

ArticleinCurrent Opinion in Critical Care 12(1):19-24 · March 2006with29 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.62 · DOI: 10.1097/01.ccx.0000198995.44943.63 · Source: PubMed


    Respiratory failure remains the most common complication in the perioperative period after lung transplantation. Consequently it is important to develop an approach to diagnosis and the treatment of respiratory failure in this population. This review highlights the advances made in the understanding and treatment of lung transplant patients in the early postoperative phase. Owing to its relative importance, advances in the understanding and treatment of ischaemia-reperfusion injury are highlighted.
    The causes of respiratory failure and the complications seen after transplantation are time dependent, with ischaemia-reperfusion, infection, technical problems and acute rejection being the most common in the early perioperative phase, and obliterative bronchiolitis, rejection, and infections secondary to bacteria, fungi, and viruses becoming more prevalent after 3 months. The advances in lung preservation and postoperative care may be overshadowed by an increase in the complexity of the recipients and the use of more marginal organs. An improved mechanistic understanding of ischaemia-reperfusion injury has translated into potential therapeutic targets. The development of prospective clinical trials, however, is hampered by a relatively small sample of patients and a significant degree of heterogeneity in the lung transplant population.
    Many advances have been made in the understanding of ischaemia-reperfusion injury. Owing to the acute and long-term implications of this complication, interventions that reduce the risk of developing ischaemia-reperfusion need to be evaluated in prospective clinical trials.