Double transplants can be successful with donor lungs from heavy smokers

Published on January 29, 2013 at 4:36 AM · No Comments

Lungs from carefully selected donors with a heavy smoking history can be used with good results in adult, double-lung transplants, according to a study released today at the 49th Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Sharven Taghavi, MD, Yoshiya Toyoda, MD, PhD, and colleagues from Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia analyzed data from 5,900 double-lung transplant recipients recorded in the United Network for Organ Sharing database between 2005 and 2011 to study the risk of double-lung transplants using lungs donated from heavy smokers. Transplants from heavy smokers composed 13% (766) of the double-lung transplants studied. A heavy smoking history is defined as at least a pack a day for more than 20 years.

The researchers found that patients who received lungs from carefully selected donors with a history of heavy smoking had similar short- and medium-term survival compared with patients who received donor lungs from non-heavy smoking donors. Lung function was not worse when using heavy smoking donors, and the number of deaths due to malignancy was not different.

Lung transplantation has been shown to be an effective treatment for end-stage lung disease; however, this treatment is limited by a critical shortage of donor organs. "Our findings demonstrate that the current criteria for lung transplantation can potentially be revised to include donors with a heavy smoking history. This may help decrease the shortage of donor lungs and decrease waiting list mortality," explained Dr. Taghavi.

Key Points
• Double-lung transplants can be successful with donor lungs from heavy smokers.
• Short-term and long-term survival rates are not necessarily impacted by donor smoking status.
• Death from malignancy is no greater in recipients who received lungs from carefully selected heavy smokers.
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