Reliability of diagnostic criteria for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome after lung transplantation: A survey

Atul Kapila, Maher A. Baz, Vincent G. Valentine, Sangeeta M. Bhorade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background Long-term outcomes after lung transplantation are limited due to chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is the most common form of obstructive CLAD and its definition derives from spirometric measurements. Given the importance of this diagnosis, both the accuracy and reliability of the definition of CLAD are crucial in understanding the pathophysiology of this disease to develop therapeutic options and influence outcome after lung transplantation.

Methods A web-based survey was designed and distributed to members of the Pulmonary Council of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) to better understand the accuracy and reliability of pulmonary function criteria in diagnosing BOS. Spirometric data from five patient scenarios that were discordant among reviewers regarding BOS determination from the Assessment of Immunosuppressive Regimen in Suppressing Acute and Chronic Rejection (AIRSAC) trial were randomly selected and summarized in this survey. Survey questions included the respondent's general understanding of the BOS definition, the determination of BOS, and difficulties with the current BOS definition.

Results Eighty-seven respondents from the Pulmonary Council of the ISHLT responded to this survey. There was an overall 70% interobserver agreement regarding the presence or absence of BOS. Among those who agreed upon the presence of BOS, there was a 41% interobserver agreement regarding its time of onset. Despite this variability, the majority of respondents were not only familiar and agreed with the BOS criteria, they also felt confident in applying these criteria.

Conclusions Our survey identified potential limitations with the current criteria for diagnosing BOS. With recognition of the various CLAD phenotypes, further refinements of these diagnostic criteria will allow for an improved ability to identify and characterize patients who develop or are at risk for BOS, prognosticate outcomes, and, most importantly, marshal in future strategies directed at treating and preventing chronic lung dysfunction after lung transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome
  • forced expiratory volume
  • lung transplant
  • spirometric measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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