Six patients received heart-lung transplants between March, 1981, and January, 1982. There were four women and two men between 26 and 45 years of age, three with primary pulmonary hypertension and three with congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension (Eisenmenger's syndrome). Immunosuppression was primarily with cyclosporin-A, with additional corticosteroid, azathioprine, and rabbit antihuman thymocyte globulin. Six episodes of allograft rejection in four patients (10, 11, 21, 24, 53, and 86 days after transplantation) were detected by means of transvenous endomyocardial biopsy. All patients experienced pulmonary edema early after transplantation (reimplantation response), and two patients required mechanical ventilatory support for allograft rejection at 10 and 11 days. Treatment of rejection consisted of intravenous methylprednisolone (four episodes) or augmented oral prednisone (two episodes), with resolution. No episode thought to be pulmonary rejection has occurred in the absence of cardiac findings. Four patients are alive from 6 to 15 months after transplantation and are functionally normal. Early experience with heart-lung transplantation suggests (1) that allograft rejection can be detected by cardiac findings and successfully treated by augmented corticosteroids, (2) that lung rejection does not occur in the absence of cardiac findings, (3) that the frequency and severity of rejection episodes are not greater than with standard cardiac transplantation, and (4) that the frequency of rejection episodes is highest within the first 60 days after transplantation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1983QG01700005
View details for PubMedID 6402622