Abdominal complications after lung transplantation

P. C. Smith, M. S. Slaughter, M. G. Petty, S. J. Shumway, V. R. Kshettry, R. M. Bolman

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67 Scopus citations


Background: Serious abdominal complications after heart and heart-lung transplantation have been a well-documented source of morbidity and mortality in this patient population. This report reviews the incidence and spectrum of abdominal complications occurring in lung transplant recipients at a single institution. Methods: Between January 1988 and July 1993, 75 patients underwent lung transplantation (58 single lung, 16 bilateral single lung, and 1 double lung) at the University of Minnesota. Results: Twelve patients (16%) sustained 20 abdominal complications. There were 11 early abdominal complications (≤3 0 days after transplantation) including prolonged adynamic ileus (4), diaphragmatic hernia after omental wrap (3), ischemic bowel (2), colitis with hemorrhage (1), and splenic injury after colonoscopy (1). There were nine late abdominal complications (range, 32 days to 28 months after transplantation) including colonic perforation (4), cholelithiasis/choledocholithiasis (2), development of a mesenteric pseudoaneurysm (1), fungal hepatic abscess (1), and intraabdominal hemorrhage (1). Twenty-six procedures were performed for management of the abdominal complications including: colonoscopy (7), colectomy (5), repair of diaphragmatic hernia (3), colostomy takedown (4), small-bowel resection (2), open cholecystectomy with common bile duct exploration (1), open cholecystectomy (1), splenectomy (1), mesenteric arterial pseudoaneurysm embolization (1), and percutaneous liver biopsy (1). Four patients died of causes attributable to their abdominal complications. Conclusions: In each case in which a death occurred, there was a delay between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis and intervention of more than 6 days. Abdominal complications accounted for 22% of all deaths in our lung transplantation group. A high index of suspicion and early recognition and intervention will decrease the morbidity and mortality caused by abdominal complications in lung transplant patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - 1995


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