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Preoperative pulmonary evaluation of liver transplant candidates: Results from 341 adult patients

Serife Savas Bozbas, Eylul Bozkurt Yilmaz, Ilgaz Dogrul, Figen Ozturk Ergur, Nurten Savas, Fusun Eyuboglu, Mehmet Haberal

Ann Transplant 2011; 16(3): 88-96

ID: 882000


Background:    Pulmonary disorders are among the commonly encountered and prognostically important problems in patients with chronic liver disease.
        To define the prevalence and types of respiratory disorders in patients with advanced liver disease evaluated for liver transplant (LT) candidacy, and to determine factors affecting postoperative outcome.
    Material/Methods:    The records of 341 adult patients evaluated for LT candidacy were retrospectively examined. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data including chest X-ray, spirometry and echocardiography results were collected. Postoperative pulmonary complications and mortality rates were determined.
    Results:    With a mean age of 45.1 years, 73 (21.4%) patients presented with respiratory symptoms or signs. The most common radiographic abnormality on chest X-ray was right diaphragm elevation (53.2%). Hypoxemia was detected in 38.1% of the patients. Pulmonary hypertension was detected in 100 of 327 (30.6%) patients on Doppler echocardiography. There were 141 patients who underwent surgery. Postoperative pulmonary complications developed in 60 patients, with pneumonia being the most prevalent complication (n=28). Smoking, emphysema, abnormal spirometry, pulmonary hypertension, hypoxia and orthodeoxia were found to be factors associated with increased postoperative pulmonary complications (P<0.05 for all). Mortality rate was 24.1% (n=34) and found to be significantly higher in patients who developed a postoperative complication than in those who did not (38.7% vs. 13.8%, respectively; p=0.001).
    Conclusions:    The authors’ findings indicate that pulmonary disorders impact prognosis and are common in patients evaluated for LT candidacy. Postoperative pulmonary complication is one of the major factors affecting mortality. Therefore, in order to increase the success of the transplant operation, a thorough preoperative pulmonary evaluation is of paramount importance.

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