Management of chronic rejection after lung transplantation

Bahaa Bedair, Ramsey R. Hachem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Outcomes after lung transplantation are limited by chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). The incidence of CLAD is high, and its clinical course tends to be progressive over time, culminating in graft failure and death. Indeed, CLAD is the leading cause of death beyond the first year after lung transplantation. Therapy for CLAD has been limited by a lack of high-quality studies to guide management. In this review, we will discuss the diagnosis of CLAD in light of the recent changes to definitions and will discuss the current clinical evidence available for treatment. Recently, the diagnosis of CLAD has been subdivided into bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) and restrictive allograft syndrome (RAS). The current evidence for treatment of CLAD mainly revolves around treatment of BOS with more limited data existing for RAS. The best supported treatment to date for CLAD is the macrolide antibiotic azithromycin which has been associated with a small improvement in lung function in a minority of patients. Other therapies that have more limited data include switching immunosuppression from cyclosporine to tacrolimus, fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux, montelukast, extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP), aerosolized cyclosporine, cytolytic anti-lymphocyte therapies, total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) and the antifibrotic agent pirfenidone. Most of these treatments are supported by case series and observational studies. Finally, we will discuss the role of retransplantation for CLAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6645-6653
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome
  • Chronic lung allograft dysfunction
  • Chronic rejection
  • Restrictive allograft syndrome


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