Lung Transplantation in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common indications for lung transplant (LTx) and nearly one-third of the LTx worldwide are performed in people with CF (PwCF). Due to vast developments in diagnostic modalities, antibiotic therapies, and management of associated comorbidities in dedicated and experienced centres, over the past few decades, more PwCF are reaching adulthood than ever before. This has increased the burden on transplant programs particularly in a universal donor shortage scenario. To improve the donor pool a diligent and proactive donor care management, acceptance of marginal organs and utilisation of ex-vivo lung perfusion systems for organ preservation, assessment, and improvement is being advocated widely. LTx is not a readily available therapy and the average waiting time is 18 months in the UK. Therefore, it is essential that PwCF are referred for LTx assessment when their disease is stable, before respiratory deterioration leads to overall deconditioning of the patients. Once listed for LTx, it is crucial to control waiting list mortality by prioritising rapidly deteriorating patients through schemes like the lung allocation score, national urgent and super-urgent waiting lists, and institutional highlighting of deteriorating patients that do not meet other urgent criteria. LTx in PwCF is challenging due to colonisation of the respiratory tract with multi-drug resistant organisms, associated comorbidities such as diabetes, liver disease, gastro-oesophageal reflux, and distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS) and CF-specific technical difficulties (adhesions due to prior pneumothoraces or pleurodesis, or bronchial collaterals that increase surgical time). Hilar lymphadenopathy and bronchial collaterals may increase surgical time, organ ischemia time, intra and post-operative bleeding, and blood transfusions. Advances in immunosuppression, prophylactic anti-viral and anti-fungal therapies, early ambulation and rigorous physiotherapy, and meticulous postoperative follow up with spirometry, x-rays, and bronchoscopies to detect rejection at the early stage followed by its efficient treatment have helped to improve post-LTx survival in the CF patients. Constant development in the surgical field with adoption of off-pump transplantation, sternal sparing bilateral thoracotomy approach, and utilisation of mechanical circulatory assist as a bridge to transplant and as a support for primary graft failure strives for better outcomes. However, chronic lung allograft dysfunction, chronic refractory infections, malignancies, and CF associated comorbidities remain major determinants of post-LTx long term survival. Despite this, CF patients are often good candidates for re-do LTx with improving survival outcomes. In this chapter, we are compiling the different aspects of LTx in PwCF emphasising the advances in bridge to transplantation, the surgical approach, management of primary graft failure, and immunosuppression as well as complications post-transplant.
Part of the book: Cystic Fibrosis