De Gasperi A, Feltracco P, Ceravola E, Mazza E.: Curr Opin Crit Care. 2014 Aug;20(4):411-9.
Purpose of review: Major improvements in perioperative care and immunobiology have not abated the risk for severe pulmonary complications after solid-organ transplantation. The aim of this study is to update information on infectious and noninfectious pulmonary complications after solid-organ transplantation, addressing epidemiology, risk factors, diagnostic workup, and management.
Recent findings: Infectious and noninfectious postoperative pulmonary complications depend on the grafted organ and the anatomical site of transplantation. Kidney transplants have the lowest incidence of pulmonary complications, the highest being reported for heart, lung, and liver recipients. Respiratory tract infections, ranking first in heart and lung transplants and second in liver recipients, are a common cause of mortality. Risk factors include end-stage organ disease, comorbidities, perioperative procedures, and graft function. Factors specific for infections are timeline, state of immunosuppression, and graft dysfunction. Nosocomial multi-drug resistant pathogens are frequently responsible for the most severe infections. Aggressive diagnostic workup, early and broad empiric antiinfective therapy, and deescalation policy are the mainstays of their management. The role of intraoperative protective ventilation is under scrutiny.
Summary: Pulmonary complications after solid-organ transplantation, and particularly infections, are able to compromise the extremely good results of the transplant procedures. Solid-organ transplantation recipients challenge the ICU physician with unique aspects of their post-transplant course, adding, in an already critical patient, the immunosuppressed state and the quality of the functional recovery of the graft.