Clinical cardiopulmonary transplantation is currently limited by the availability of suitable heart-lung donors. Distant graft procurement, with pretreatment, of the donor by intravenous prostaglandin E1 and cooling of the graft with pulmonary artery perfusion, is now clinically established and should increase the number of available donors. Between March 1981 and September 1986, 40 heart-lung transplantations were performed. The characteristics of the donor pool were analyzed. Gram stain of the donor tracheal aspirate revealed gram-positive bacteria in 80% and gram-negative organisms in 35%. Yeast was present on stain in 25% of the patients. Donor arterial oxygen tension was less than 100 torr inspired oxygen concentration 40%) repeatedly in one patient; this recipient died of lung failure at operation. Severe deterioration of allograft lung function was seen in 11 (27.5%) recipients. The causes of deterioration were substantial postoperative bleeding in six patients, sepsis in two, and acute rejection, poor lung function, and allograft heart failure in one patient each. HLA-A locus mismatch, poor donor alveolar-capillary gas exchange, tracheal colonization with heavy polymorphonuclear cells, and heavy bacteria and fungus resulted in increased operative mortality. Donor pretreatment with prostaglandin E1 was associated with improved survival. Recipient selection, emphasizing adequate liver function and absence of previous thoracic operation, careful surgical technique with minimal bleeding, and brief perfusion time were factors associated with improved survival. Early morbidity and mortality were principally related to recipient risk factors, and the strict criteria observed for selection of heart-lung donors were valid. The importance of appropriate recipient selection is underscored.
View details for Web of Science ID A1987L177300009
View details for PubMedID 3119947