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Technical aspects of reconstruction for inadequate left atrial cuff in lung transplantation.

OBJECTIVE: Lung transplantation is the only life-saving treatment for lung diseases that do not respond to medical treatment. Heart-lung harvesting requires a careful procedure to protect an adequate donor left atrial cuff around the junction of the superior and inferior pulmonary veins. This study aims to describe inadequate left atrial cuff during harvest and techniques of reconstruction at the threshold of literature.

METHODS: Left atrial cuff complications were retrospectively analyzed in consecutive lung transplant procedures between December 2016 and December 2021. Donor and patient demographics, reconstruction material and method of application and postoperative follow-up were examined.

RESULTS: In the study period, 84 consecutive lung transplant procedures were performed. Reconstruction of the inadequate left atrial cuff was 3.7% (6/162) for atrial anastomoses. However, the inadequate left atrial cuff was 9.1% (5/55) in heart-lung harvesting. Donor aorta graft was used in 4 patients and Dacron mesh was used on the bilateral atrial cuff in one patient. Hospital mortality occurred in one patient. One patient died 6 months later due to antibody-mediated rejection. The follow-ups of the other three patients are continuing without any problems.

CONCLUSIONS: Inadequate left atrial cuff complications occurring in heart-lung harvest seem to be more common than in the literature. Techniques of reconstruction for the inadequate left atrial cuff is vital for the patient who has reached irreversible progress in surgery for the recipient, as well as increasing the number of organs.

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