Lung Transplantation in Sarcoidosis


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Abstract

Lung transplantation (LT) is an appropriate therapeutic option for patients with severe, fibrocystic pulmonary sarcoidosis refractory to medical therapy. Survival rates following LT for sarcoidosis are generally comparable to other indications. Timing of transplantation for patients with sarcoidosis is challenging because mortality rates are high (27 to 53%) among sarcoid patients awaiting LT. Deciding when to refer patients for LT is difficult because models predicting mortality have not been validated. Importantly, algorithms or parameters predicting mortality in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other interstitial pneumonias may not apply to sarcoidosis. Pulmonary function tests do not correlate well with mortality risk in patients with sarcoidosis. However, retrospective studies have shown that the presence of pulmonary arterial hypertension in sarcoidosis is an ominous sign and warrants referral for LT. This article reviews indications and contraindications to LT among patients with sarcoidosis, examines risk factors for mortality, and discusses optimal timing of referral for LT. Early referral of patients allows for timely evaluation of patients for possible listing. If the risks specific to transplantation in sarcoidosis are considered and carefully evaluated, outcomes are reasonable and match those of other diagnoses. Recurrent sarcoidosis in the lung allografts can occur but does not affect survival or risk for complications.

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