Venous Thromboembolism After Adult Lung Transplantation: A Frequent Event Associated With Lower Survival

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Abstract

Background

The incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) after lung transplantation (LTX) varies significantly across studies. Two studies have suggested that these thrombotic events are associated with a lower posttransplant survival. Herein, we sought to determine the incidence, predictors, and impact of VTE on survival after LTX at a quaternary referral center.

Methods

This was a large cohort study of LTX recipients. Key outcome parameters were time to VTE after transplant and survival. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) diagnosis required a positive ultrasound. Pulmonary embolism diagnosis required either a positive chest computed tomography angiogram or a high-probability ventilation/perfusion scan.

Results

The overall incidence of VTE among 701 LTX recipients was 43.8%, of which 97.7% were DVT episodes, of which 71.3% were in the upper extremities. Predictors of VTE were prior history of DVT (hazard ratio [HR], 2.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.49-5.37), days in intensive care (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.01-1.02), and the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.43-3.45). Importantly, VTE predicted a lower posttransplant survival (HR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.28-2.26), when occurring within or after the first 30 days. The location of the DVT, either upper extremity or below the knee, also predicted a poor survival.

Conclusions

VTE was frequent in LTX recipients and predicted a poor survival even when located in the upper extremities or below the knee. These data suggest that aggressive VTE screening/treatment protocols be implemented in post-LTX population.

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