Background: Systemic hypotension may complicate the early postoperative period after lung transplantation. A release of proinflammatory cytokines secondary to lung ischemia/reperfusion injury could be involved in the pathogenesis of this early hemodynamic failure (EHF).
Study objective: To assess prospectively whether the occurrence of EHF is associated with a release of cytokines in the systemic circulation.
Design: Blood samples were taken daily during the first postoperative week in 26 patients who underwent a double or a single-lung transplantation. These patients were divided into three groups: 7 patients who experienced EHF and subsequently died (EHF group); 15 patients without EHF (control group); and 4 patients without EHF but with an identified sepsis (sepsis group). The serum levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), IL-6, and IL-8 were compared among the three groups.
Results: In the EHF group, the levels of each cytokine peaked at day 1 postoperatively. Cytokine levels at day 1 were significantly higher in the EHF group than in the control group (p<0.0006) or in the sepsis group (p<0.003 except for TNF-α).
Conclusion: We conclude that EHF is associated with a massive release of proinflammatory cytokines that could play a determinant role in the pathogenesis of this complication.