Mortality after Pediatric Lung Transplantation: Autopsies vs. Clinical Impression
Appreciable mortality accompanies pediatric lung and heart-lung transplantation. The objective of this investigation was to compare the clinical impression of causes of death with autopsy findings in all pediatric lung or heart lung transplant recipients who had an autopsy performed between 1985-2002 at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Medical records and autopsy findings were reviewed. Thirty recipients with autopsies had 33 transplant procedures: heart-lung (16), double lung (14), repeat lung (2), and repeat heart-lung (1). Perioperative deaths occurred in 8 children, most often precipitated by graft dysfunction. Early deaths (2 weeks-1 year) occurred in 12 children resulting from infection. Late deaths (greater than 1 year) occurred in 10 children. Bronchiolitis obliterans complicated by infection was the major cause of death in these recipients. An autopsy confirmed the clinical impression of cause of death in 29130 and added significant supplemental information in 16 cases. Unsuspected factors contributing to death included donor lung abnormalities, concurrent infection, and cardiovascular disease. Postmortem examination remains a critical component to augment the understanding of causes of death following pediatric thoracic transplantation. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.