Indexed on: 10 Mar '17Published on: 05 Mar '17Published in: Clinical Transplantation
Post-transplantation mortality after lung transplantation (LTX) is higher than for other solid organ transplantations. Thoracic surgery is associated with increased risk of thromboembolic complications, and as LTX recipients lack the collateral bronchial circulation, pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE) may represent a pertinent yet largely underdiagnosed cause of post-transplantation respiratory failure. In this systematic review, we sought to elucidate the occurrence and predilection site of PTE after LTX, and its potential impact on LTX-associated mortality. Based on twelve original articles identified by a systematic search strategy in PubMed, we found that PTE was reported in 4% of LTX recipients, and 38% of these events occurred within the first 30 days after the LTX procedure. In single-lung transplantation (SLTX) recipients, 12% were diagnosed with PTE, with 92% of these affecting the allograft. Of LTX patients diagnosed with PTE, 11% died within 1 year after LTX and 75% of these deaths occurred within the first 30 days. Our findings suggest that PTE is a potentially underdiagnosed cause of early post-LTX respiratory failure. This should be confirmed in larger studies with systematic follow-up diagnostic imaging.