Perioperative complications after living donor lobectomy

R J Battafarano, R C Anderson, B F Meyers, T J Guthrie, D Schuller, J D Cooper, G A Patterson
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2000, 120 (5): 909-15

OBJECTIVE: Clinical lung transplantation has been limited by availability of suitable cadaveric donor lungs. Living donor lobectomy provides right and left lower lobes from a pair of living donors for each recipient. We reviewed our experience with living donor lobectomy from July 1994 to February 2000.

METHODS: Sixty-two donor lobectomies were performed. The hospital and outpatient records of these 62 donors were retrospectively analyzed to examine the incidence of perioperative complications.

RESULTS: Twenty-four (38.7%) of 62 donors had no perioperative complications and had a median length of hospital stay of 5.0 days. Thirty-eight (61.3%) of 62 donors had postoperative complications. Twelve major complications occurred in 10 patients and included pleural effusions necessitating drainage (n = 4), bronchial stump fistulas (n = 3), bilobectomy (n = 1), hemorrhage necessitating red cell transfusion (n = 1), phrenic nerve injury (n = 1), atrial flutter ultimately necessitating electrophysiologic ablation (n = 1), and bronchial stricture necessitating dilatation (n = 1). These 38 donors had 55 minor complications including persistent air leaks (n = 9), pericarditis (n = 9), pneumonia (n = 8), arrhythmia (n = 7), transient hypotension necessitating fluid resuscitation (n = 4), atelectasis (n = 3), ileus (n = 3), subcutaneous emphysema (n = 3), urinary tract infections (n = 2), loculated pleural effusions (n = 2), transfusion (n = 2), Clostridium difficile colitis (n = 1), puncture of a saline breast implant (n = 1), and severe contact dermatitis secondary to adhesive tape (n = 1). There were no postoperative deaths and only 1 donor required surgical re-exploration.

CONCLUSIONS: Living donor lobectomy can be performed with low mortality and remains an important alternative for potential recipients unable to wait for cadaveric lung allografts. However, morbidity is high and must be considered when potential living donors are being counseled.

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