Survival impact of lung transplantation for COPD

S Lahzami, P O Bridevaux, P M Soccal, J Wellinger, J H Robert, H B Ris, J D Aubert
European Respiratory Journal 2010, 36 (1): 74-80
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the primary indication for lung transplantation (LTx), but survival benefit is still under debate. We analysed the survival impact of LTx in COPD with a new approach, using the BODE (body mass index, airway obstruction, dyspnoea, exercise capacity) index. We retrospectively reviewed 54 consecutive lung transplants performed for COPD. The pre-transplant BODE score was calculated for each patient and a predicted survival was derived from the survival functions of the original BODE index validation cohort. Predicted and observed post-transplant survival was then compared. In the subgroups with a BODE score >or=7 and <7, a majority of patients (66% and 69%, respectively) lived for longer after LTx than predicted by their individual BODE index. The median survival was significantly improved in the entire cohort and in the subgroup with a BODE score >or=7. 4 yrs after LTx a survival benefit was only apparent in patients with a pre-transplant BODE score of >or=7. In conclusion, while a majority of COPD patients had an individual survival benefit from LTx regardless of their pre-transplant BODE score, a global survival benefit was seen only in patients with more severe disease. This supports the use of the BODE index as a selection criteria for LTx candidates.

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