Lung transplantation in cystic fibrosis patients with difficult to treat lung infections

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Purpose of review

In cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with end-stage pulmonary disease, lung transplantation (LTx) remains a life-extending therapy with good outcome in most patients. Despite early concern about chronic pretransplantation infections in the context of posttransplantation immunosuppression, typical CF-associated organisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa turned out to be quite well manageable and associated with favorable outcomes in transplanted CF patients, even in patients with highly resistant strains. However, the situation is less evident with other pathogens.

Recent findings

Burkholderia cenocepacia is associated with reduced survival and regarded as a contraindication for LTx in most centers, other Burkholderia species are less problematic. Other resistant Gram-negative bacteria and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in CF patients are not regarded as a contraindication. Nontuberculous mycobacteria disease in CF patients does not preclude successful recovery after LTx, although postoperative complications can be expected in patients with Mycobacterium abscessus and specific management is indicated. Fungal species should be treated aggressively to limit morbidity after transplantation.


Despite its complexity, LTx is safe in most CF patients, with good outcomes if the pathogens that are present are identified and adequately treated.

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