Combined heart and lung transplantation was carried out in thirteen patients at Stanford University between March 1981 and May 1983. The recipients were between 22 and 45 years old. All patients were suffering from end-stage pulmonary hypertension; nine patients had Eisenmenger's syndrome; the remaining four were transplanted for primary pulmonary hypertension. Three patients died within one month of surgery. The remainder are well at between 22 months and three weeks from operation. The duration of stay in the hospital for the surviving patients ranged from 38 to 85 days. The immunosuppressive protocol has been essentially the same for all recipients, and has consisted of cyclosporine with an initial course of rabbit antithymocyte globulin (RATG) with azathioprine given for the first two weeks, and then replaced with prednisone. Rejection, as diagnosed by cardiac biopsy, was treated with pulses of methylprednisolone. Early complications included bleeding that necessitated reexploration (five patients); damage to the vagus, recurrent laryngeal, or phrenic nerves (three patients); and failure of the donor lungs (one patient). Modifications of technique that have developed include removal of the recipient heart and lungs separately, and preservation of the lungs with a modified Collins' solution instead of a cardioplegic solution. The results of this operation are considerably superior to clinical efforts in lung transplantation. The combined operation may be preferable for the following reasons: All diseased tissue is removed, thus eliminating recurrent infection, and also perfusion/ventilation disparity. Transplantation of the entire heart and lung block preserves coronary-tracheal vascular anastomoses and makes airway dehiscence less likely. Diagnosis of rejection by cardiac biopsy seems to be a satisfactory method of diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary rejection.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984RZ82600022
View details for PubMedID 6420957