Survival in Sensitized Lung Transplant Recipients With Perioperative Desensitization Academic Article uri icon

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  • Donor-specific HLA antibodies (DSA) have an adverse effect on short-term and long-term lung transplant outcomes. We implemented a perioperative strategy to treat DSA-positive recipients, leading to equivalent rejection and graft survival outcomes. Pretransplant DSA were identified to HLA-A, B, C, DR and DQ antigens. DSA-positive patients were transplanted if panel reactive antibody (PRA) ≥30% or medically urgent and desensitized with perioperative plasma exchange, intravenous immune globulin, antithymocyte globulin (ATG), and mycophenolic acid (MPA). PRA-positive/DSA-negative recipients received MPA. Unsensitized patients received routine cyclosporine, azathioprine and prednisone without ATG. From 2008-2011, 340 lung-only first transplants were performed: 53 DSA-positive, 93 PRA-positive/DSA-negative and 194 unsensitized. Thirty-day survival was 96 %/99%/96% in the three groups, respectively. One-year graft survival was 89%/88%/86% (p = 0.47). DSA-positive and PRA-positive/DSA-negative patients were less likely to experience any ≥ grade 2 acute rejection (9% and 9% vs. 18% unsensitized p = 0.04). Maximum predicted forced expiratory volume (1 s) (81%/74%/76%, p = NS) and predicted forced vital capacity (81%/77%/78%, respectively, p = NS) were equivalent between groups. With the application of this perioperative treatment protocol, lung transplantation can be safely performed in DSA/PRA-positive patients, with similar outcomes to unsensitized recipients.


  • Tinckam, KJ
  • Keshavjee, Shafique
  • Chaparro, C
  • Barth, D
  • Azad, S
  • Binnie, M
  • Chow, CW
  • de Perrot, M
  • Pierre, AF
  • Waddell, TK
  • Yasufuku, K
  • Cypel, M
  • Singer, LG

publication date

  • February 2015

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