Effect of volume reduction on lung transplant timing and selection for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

J. E. Bavaria, A. Pochettino, R. M. Kotloff, B. R. Rosengard, P. M. Wahl, J. R. Roberts, H. I. Palevsky, L. R. Kaiser, G. A. Patterson, M. J. Krasna

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39 Scopus citations


Background: End-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has traditionally been treated with lung transplantation. For 2 years, our lung transplantation program has placed patients with appropriate criteria for lung transplantation and volume reduction into a prospective management algorithm. These patients are offered the lung volume reduction option as a 'bridge' to 'extend' the eventual time to transplantation. We examine the results of this pilot program. Methods: From October 11, 1993, to April 17, 1997, 31 patients were evaluated for lung transplantation who also had physiologic criteria for volume reduction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second ≤ 25%; residual volume > 200%; significant ventilation/perfusion heterogeneity). All patients completed 6 weeks of pulmonary rehabilitation and then had baseline pulmonary function and 6-minute walk tests. These patients were then offered volume reduction as a 'bridge' and were simultaneously listed for transplantation. Postoperatively, these 31 patients were then divided into two groups: Those with satisfactory results at 4 to 6 months after volume reduction and those with unsatisfactory results. Volume reduction was performed through a video thoracic approach in 87% of the patients and bilateral median sternotomy in the remaining 13%. The condition of the patients was monitored after the operation with repeated pulmonary function tests and 6-minute walk tests at 3-month intervals. Results: Twenty- four of 31 patients (77.4%) had primary success (at 4 to 6 months) results after lung volume reduction and 7 patients (22.6%) had primary failure, including 1 patient who died in the perioperative period (3.2%). Four patients (16.7%) from the primary success cohort had significant deterioration in their pulmonary function during intermediate-term follow-up and were then reconsidered for lung transplantation. Two of them have subsequently undergone transplantation with good postoperative pulmonary function results. Interestingly, three patients had α1-antitrypsin deficiency; two had a poor outcome of lung volume reduction and primary failure. Conclusions: Lung volume reduction in these patients is safe. Seventy-seven percent of otherwise suitable candidates for lung transplantation achieved initial good results from volume reduction and were deactivated from the list (placed on status 7). Most patients entering our prospective management algorithm have either significantly delayed or completely avoided lung transplantation after volume reduction. Lung volume reduction has substantially affected the practice, timing, and selection of patients for lung transplantation. Our waiting list now has a reduced percentage of patients with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared with 3 years ago. Our experience suggests that lung volume reduction may be limited as a 'bridge' in α1-antitrypsin deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


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