Influence of the donor lung on development of early infections in lung transplant recipients

M. Zenati, Robert Dowling, J. S. Dummer, I. L. Paradis, V. C. Arena, J. M. Armitage, R. L. Kormos, R. L. Hardesty, B. P. Griffith

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63 Scopus citations


Infection of the lung allograft is the greatest cause of morbidity and mortality after heart-lung transplantation. To better understand the pathogenesis of these infections, we compared the results from cultures of the donor tracheas with the type and prevalence of early intrathoracic infections in the recipients. In the last 37 recipients, intrathoracic infections occurred within 2 weeks of operation in 16 (43%). Organisms isolated from the donor tracheal cultures were different from those associated with early infections, except for three of four recipients with heavy growth of Candida in donor tracheal cultures, in whom fatal invasive candidiasis developed caused by the same species of Candida isolated from the donor culture. Comparisons were made between recipients with (n = 16) and without early infection (n = 21) for age of donors and recipients, ischemic time, length of donor stay in an intensive care unit, donor arterial oxygen pressure, duration of recipient intubation, sterile donor tracheal culture or culture with presence of mouth flora, bacterial pathogens, or Candida, method of lung preservation, and antibiotic prophylaxis of donor. The only factor significantly associated with the onset of early infection was the presence of mouth flora in the donor tracheal culture (p = 0.004, Fisher's exact test, two sided). Multiple logistic regression was performed to test the additional contribution of other covariates after adjusting for the presence of mouth flora. None of the other covariates contributed to the occurrence of early infection. Recipients with early infection had a significantly lower survival compared with those without early infection (p = 0.04) by the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. We conclude that mouth flora in the donor tracheal culture, probably a marker of undetected aspiration, leads to early infection and lower survival in the recipient. The presence of heavy growth of Candida in the donor tracheal culture is also associated with the occurrence of invasive candidiasis in the recipient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Heart Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Transplantation


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