Imaging of the Lungs in Organ Donors and its Clinical Relevance: A Retrospective Analysis

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Abstract

Purpose:

The aim of the study was to retrospectively evaluate the diagnostic imaging that potential lung donors undergo, the reader variability of image interpretation and its relevance for donation, and the potential information gained from imaging studies not primarily intended for lung evaluation but partially including them.

Materials and Methods:

Bedside chest radiography and computed tomography (CT), completely or incompletely including the lungs, of 110 brain-dead potential organ donors in a single institution during 2007 to 2014 were reviewed from a donation perspective. Two chest radiologists in consensus analyzed catheters and cardiovascular, parenchymal, and pleural findings. Clinical reports and study review were compared for substantial differences in findings that could have led to a treatment change, triggered additional examinations such as bronchoscopy, or were considered important for donation.

Results:

Among 136 bedside chest radiographs, no differences between clinical reports and study reviews were found in 37 (27%), minor differences were found in 28 (21%), and substantial differences were found in 71 (52%) examinations (P<0.0001). In 31 of 42 (74%) complete or incomplete CT examinations, 50 of 74 findings with relevance for lung donation were not primarily reported (P<0.0001).

Conclusions:

The majority of donor patients undergo only chest radiography. A targeted imaging review of abnormalities affecting the decision to use donor lungs may be useful in the preoperative stage. With a targeted list, substantial changes were made from initial clinical interpretations. CT can provide valuable information on donor lung pathology, even if the lungs are only partially imaged.

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