Risk factors for the development of obliterative bronchiolitis after lung transplantation

R. E. Girgis, I. Tu, G. J. Berry, H. Reichenspurner, V. G. Valentine, J. V. Conte, A. Ting, I. Johnstone, J. Miller, R. C. Robbins, B. A. Reitz, J. Theodore

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251 Scopus citations


Background: Acute rejection has emerged as an important risk factor for obliterative bronchiolitis after lung transplantation. We performed a multivariate analysis to assess the impact of additional variables. Methods: Seventy-four recipients (48 heart-lung, 18 single-lung, and 8 bilateral-lung recipients) who survived longer than 90 days and underwent transplantation more than 15 months before data analysis were included in this study. Several variables were entered into a Cox regression analysis to determine their association with the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Results: Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome developed in 48 (65%) of 74 patients. Significant correlations were detected for acute rejection score, defined as the sum of pathologic grades of each separate acute rejection episode (p = 0.0004, likelihood ratio test value = 12.4) and for lymphocytic bronchiolitis (p = 0.03). In a bivariate model, episodes of organizing pneumonia and bacterial or fungal pneumonia significantly increased the likelihood ratio test value of the acute rejection score. The addition of the cytomegalovirus infection score, reflecting the frequency and severity of infection, to the combination of the acute rejection score and episodes of bacterial or fungal pneumonia resulted in a further significant increase in the likelihood ratio test value. Significant risk factors for moderate to severe stages of airflow limitation were at least one episode of acute rejection of grade ≤ 2, younger recipient age, and any acute rejection episode 180 days or longer after transplantation. Conclusions: Increasing frequency and severity of acute rejection episodes are strongly associated with the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Lymphocytic bronchiolitis appeared to be significant by univariate analysis, but in a two-risk factor model, it did not augment the influence of acute rejection. Organizing pneumonia, bacterial or fungal pneumonia, and increasing severity and frequency of cytomegalovirus infections potentiate the effect of acute rejection. Late episodes of acute rejection and younger recipient age increase the risk for development of advanced disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1208
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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