Upper Lobe Fibrosis: A Novel Manifestation of Chronic Allograft Dysfunction in Lung Transplantation
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BACKGROUND: Lung transplantation is an established treatment modality for a number of chronic lung diseases. Long-term survival after lung transplantation is limited by chronic allograft dysfunction, usually manifested by bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. We describe a case series with upper lobe fibrosis, a novel presentation of chronic allograft dysfunction. METHODS: We reviewed lung transplants at the Toronto General Hospital and Duke University Hospital from 1990 to 2002 and identified patients with upper lobe fibrosis. RESULTS: Thirteen of 686 patients (6 women) developed upper lobe fibrosis (Toronto, 9; Duke, 4); 12 of 13 had bilateral transplants. The median age at diagnosis was 42 years (range, 19-70). Primary diagnoses were cystic fibrosis, 6; emphysema, 4; sarcoidosis, 1; and pulmonary fibrosis, 2 patients. Radiographic diagnosis was made at a median of 700 days post-transplant (range, 150-2,920). Pulmonary function tests demonstrated predominantly a progressively worsening restrictive pattern. Open lung biopsy specimens revealed dense interstitial fibrosis, with occasional features of obliterative bronchitis, bronchiolitis obliterans obstructive pneumonia, and aspiration. Nine patients died at a median follow-up of 2,310 days (range, 266-3,740), 8 due to respiratory failure. CONCLUSION: Upper lobe fibrosis is a novel presentation of chronic allograft dysfunction in lung transplant recipients and is differentiated from bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome on the basis of physiologic and radiologic findings.
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