Background: There is controversy over whether colonization with drug-resistant organisms is a contraindication to lung transplantation.
Methods: We undertook a retrospective review of the results of lung transplantation for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) at Duke University Medical Center.
Results: As of May 1996, 21 patients with CF underwent bilateral lung transplantation. The first patient died within 24 h of transplantation from sepsis due to Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Of the remaining 20 patients, 17 (85%) are alive and in stable condition. The three deaths were related primarily to bronchiolitis obliterans at 4 and 18 months in two patients and to cytomegalovirus pneumonitis at 5 months in the other patient. The 17 surviving patients have been followed up for a mean of 13 months (range, 0.5 to 34 months). Most of them were colonized and infected with multidrug-resistant organisms before transplantation. Following transplantation, 11 patients had complications from infections. One patient had bacteremia due to a panresistant Burkholderia cepacia and was treated successfully. Two patients had bacteremia and wound infection due to Burkholderia gladioli, previously thought to be pathogenic only in plants. Both patients were treated successfully. Of the six patients with Aspergillus fumigatus isolated from cultures before transplantation, only one had invasive disease following transplantation and responded to treatment.
Conclusion: The organisms present before transplantation were not the primary cause of mortality in our patient population. Our findings suggest that lung transplantation should be considered in CF patients infected with multidrug-resistant organisms.