Transplanted lungs and the “white plague”: A case-report and review of the literature

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Solid organ transplant recipients, especially after lung transplantation, are at increased risk for Mycobacterium tuberculosis pulmonary tuberculosis due to lifelong immunosuppression.

Patient concerns:

A 41-year-old woman underwent a second bilateral lung transplantation that was complicated by fatal pulmonary tuberculosis.


Histological examination of a lung biopsy performed 6 weeks after retransplantation revealed a caseating granuloma and necrosis. Acid-fast bacilli were identified as rifampicin-susceptible M. tuberculosis by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), confirmed by culture 2 weeks later.


Our investigation led us to highly suspect that the transplanted lungs were the source of M. tuberculosis transmission.


In order to optimize diagnosis and treatment for lung recipients with latent or active tuberculosis, regular assessment of lower respiratory samples for M. tuberculosis, particularly during the 12-month period posttransplant should be implemented. Regarding donor-derived transmission, screening donor grafts with latent tuberculosis by M. tuberculosis real-time PCR in lymphoid and adipose tissues is an option that should be considered.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles