January 27, 2022

Lung transplant for COVID-19-related respiratory failure

Editor's Note

This study, led by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, finds that from August 2020 through September 2021, 7% of lung transplantations in the US were performed in patients with COVID-19-related respiratory failure.

In this analysis of 3,039 lung transplants, 214 were related to COVID-19.

Of those:

  • 21% were female
  • 36.6% were Hispanic
  • the median age was 52 years
  • 4.6% had acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • 2.4% had pulmonary fibrosis
  • 92.1% were bilateral lung transplants (including 2 heart-lung and 5 lung-kidney transplants)
  • 7.9% were single-lung transplants (including 1 lung-kidney transplant).

The 30-day mortality was 2.2%, and 3-month survival was 95.6%.

Because the 3-month survival rate for COVID-19 patients approached that for patients who had lung transplantation for other reasons, lung transplantation may be an acceptable treatment for selected patients with irreversible respiratory failure due to COVID-10, the researchers concluded.


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