The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.
Original clinical science|Articles in Press

Impact of preheart transplant spirometry and DCLO measurement on post-transplant pulmonary outcomes

Published:January 28, 2023DOI:


      Pulmonary function tests (PFT) are a frequent component of heart transplant evaluation. In cardiac surgery abnormal PFTs, especially reduced DLCO, have been associated with poor outcomes. We sought to evaluate the impact of pretransplant PFTs on post-transplant pulmonary outcomes and patient survival.


      Among the 652 adult heart transplant recipients between January 1, 2010 and July 31, 2021, 462 had PFTs and constituted the patient cohort. Obstructive ventilatory defects (OVD), restrictive ventilatory defects (RVD), and reduced DLCO were defined according to established criteria. The primary outcome was the combined endpoint of a post-transplant pulmonary complication defined as reintubation, postoperative pneumonia, prolonged intubation, or tracheostomy. Secondary outcomes included 90-day all-cause mortality, length of stay, and the odds of individual pulmonary complications. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis, multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression, and multivariable logistic regression were performed to compare outcomes between the groups.


      Patients with severe OVD (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.18-5.23, p = 0.02) or severely reduced DLCO (OR 1.95, 95% CI 1.19-3.20, p = 0.008) had increased odds of post-transplant pulmonary complications. Following multivariable adjustment, severe OVD (aOR 2.67, 95% CI 1.15-6.19, p = 0.02) and severely reduced DLCO (aOR 1.79, 95% CI 1.05-3.04) remained strongly associated with post-transplant pulmonary complications. Patients with any degree of extrinsic RVD, moderate or less OVD, or moderately reduced DLCO or less did not have increased odds of post-transplant pulmonary complications. Ninety-day post-transplant survival was significantly reduced for both severe OVD (97.2% vs 86.5%, p = 0.04) and severely reduced DLCO (97.3% vs 90.4%, p = 0.004). Post-transplant ICU and hospital length of stay were nominally longer for both groups as well.


      Severe OVD or severely reduced DLCO on preheart transplant PFTs were associated with increased odds of post-transplant pulmonary complications and early mortality.



      DLCO (diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide), FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second), FVC (forced vital capacity), OVD (obstructive ventilatory defects), PFT (pulmonary function test), RVD (restrictive ventilatory defect)
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