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Lung transplantation after COVID-19-associated ARDS

Presented By
Prof. G.R. Scott Budinger, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA
ATS 2022
The international results of the first series of patients indicate that when lung transplantation is the only option for survival in patients with severe, unresolving, COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the procedure can be done successfully, with good early post-transplantation outcomes, in carefully selected patients.

Prof. G.R. Scott Budinger (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA) presented current data concerning COVID-19 patients at imminent risk of dying due to ARDS who had received lung transplantations [1–4]. He started off by saying that “patients with COVID-19-associated ARDS who received lung transplants had similar outcomes compared with transplant patients without COVID-19, despite modestly increased early post-op complications.”

In the retrospective study, Prof. Budinger mostly focused on the case series including 102 patients who underwent a lung transplant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital between January 2020 and September 2021, including 30 patients who had COVID-19-associated ARDS [3]. While rates of transplant complications and lengths of intensive care unit stays were both higher in the group with COVID-19, patient survival in both groups was not significantly different. Overall, this data was very similar to that of the other studies [2,4].

Prof. Budinger pointed out that this finding is encouraging for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 who have no other options. Furthermore, the collective data can reassure the community that precious resources such as donor lungs will not necessarily have poorer outcomes in candidates with COVID-19.

  1. Budinger GS, et al.Lung Transplantation for COVID-19-Associated ARDS. Session A2, ATS International Conference 2022, San Francisco, CA, USA, 13–18 May.

  2. Bharat A, et al. Lancet Respir Med. 2021 May;9(5):487–497.

  3. Kurihara C, et al. JAMA. 2022 Feb 15;327(7):652–661.

  4. Roach A, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022 Mar 24;386(12):1187–1188.



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