Anastomotic pitfalls in lung transplantation

B. P. Griffith, M. J. Magee, I. F. Gonzalez, R. Houel, J. M. Armitage, R. L. Hardesty, B. G. Hattler, P. F. Ferson, R. J. Landreneau, R. J. Keenan, J. K. Trinkle, G. A. Patterson, T. M. Egan, H. G. Borst, R. W. Emery

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118 Scopus citations


Although airway, arterial, and venous connections required for lung transplantation appear simple, in practice we have encountered morbid early stenosis and obstructions, which are now avoided by technical modifications gradually made since 1985 in 134 cases (60 single lung and 74 double lung). Our initial eight double lung transplant procedures were done with tracheal anastomoses and omental wraps, but ischemic disruption, with a 75% (6 of 8) rate of complications, resulted in the subsequent use of bibronchial connections. A total of 192 bronchial anastomoses were reviewed (60 single lung, 66 double lung). Although all anastomoses were constructed between the donor trimmed to one to two rings above the upper lobe origin and the host divided at its emergence from the mediastinum, the suture technique has evolved. Nine (32%) of 28 cases with early bronchial anastomoses with end- to-end suture and intercostal muscle wrap had ischemic or stenotic complications, but the telescoping technique without wrap in 164 bronchial anastomoses reduced the problem to 12% (19 of 164). Twelve anastomoses required temporary intraluminal stenting. Vascular anastomotic obstructions occurred in five arterial (excessive length 2, short allograft artery 1, restrictive suture or clot 2) and two venous (excessive length 1, restrictive suture or clot 1) connections. Suspicion of arterial obstruction was prompted by persisting pulmonary hypertension and reduced flow to the allograft measured by postoperative nuclear scan and hypoxia. Venous obstructions were suggested by persisting radiographic and clinical pulmonary edema. Modifications of earlier techniques have improved our early success in lung transplantation and might be considered by others entering this demanding field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-754
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994


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