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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Critical care aspects of lung transplantation

Christine L Lau, G Alexander Patterson, Scott M Palmer
Journal of Intensive Care Medicine 2004, 19 (2): 83-104
15070519
Lung transplantation currently is the preferred treatment option for a variety of end-stage pulmonary diseases. Remarkable progress has occurred through refinements in technique and improved understanding of transplant immunology and microbiology. As a result, recipients are surviving longer after their transplant. Despite improvements in short- and intermediate-term survival, long-term success with lung transplantation remains limited by chronic allograft rejection, also known as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Despite its long-term limitations, lung transplantation remains the only hope for many with end-stage pulmonary disease, and during the past 20 years, it has become increasingly accepted and used. As a result, clinicians working in an intensive care unit (ICU) are more likely to be exposed to these patients both in the immediate postoperative period as well as throughout their remaining lives. It is thus important that the ICU team have a working knowledge of the common complications, when these complications are most likely to occur, and how best to treat them when they do arise. The main focus of this review is to address the variety of potential graft and life-threatening problems that may occur in lung transplant recipients. Because the ICU is also the most common setting where a potential donor is identified, donor issues will briefly be addressed.

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