Factors contributing to mortality in lung transplant recipients: an autopsy study. Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Lung Transplantation
  • Opportunistic Infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Postoperative Complications


  • Despite improved surgical techniques and advances in immunosuppressive therapy, posttransplant mortality rates remain significantly high in lung transplant patients. Since 1985, 3 of 6 single lung recipients, 3 of 3 double lung recipients, and 4 of 7 heart-lung recipients have died and undergone autopsy. We reviewed the autopsy findings in these patients to determine the type and frequency of pathologic processes associated with mortality. One or more infectious processes was found in every patient at autopsy. Gram-negative bacterial pneumonia and sepsis, found in 7 and 8 of 10 autopsy cases, respectively, were by far the most frequent contributing factors to mortality. Epstein-Barr virus infection was demonstrated in one patient using polymerase chain reaction amplification. Acute transplant rejection was found in only 2 patients and therefore is a much less common factor in the death of lung transplant recipients. Diffuse alveolar damage occurred in 6 patients and bronchiolitis obliterans occurred in 3 patients. These latter two processes may have different etiologies in different patients.

publication date

  • March 1989



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 2657722

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 85

end page

  • 9


  • 2


  • 2