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Transplant Proc. 2011 Mar;43(2):543-6. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2011.01.015.

Diagnostic utility of flexible bronchoscopy in recipients of solid organ transplants.

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Pulmonary Department, Baskent University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients are prone to develop pulmonary complications (PC) due to their immunocompromised state. Flexible bronchoscopy (FB) is frequently performed to diagnose the nature of these complications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic utility of FB in SOT recipients with suspected PC.


We examined the medical records of patients who underwent FB between 2000 and 2010; patients who received SOT were included patient demographics, transplantation type, primary diagnoses, thorax computed tomography results, total blood count and chemistries, immunosuppressant therapies, indication, results, specimen cultures, as well as suspected and final diagnoses were recorded.


Among 1368 either liver or kidney transplant recipients 61 subjects including 49 male patients of overall mean age 42.8±12 years underwent FB. FB was performed for lung infiltrates (n=42), lung nodules (n=2), atelectasis (n=1), bronchopleural fistula (n=1), stridor (n=1), mediastinal lymphadenopathy (n=2), pleural effusion (n=1), fever (n=9), and/or hemoptysis (n=2). FB was unremarkable in 17. Other findings were as follows: increased secretions (n=24), chronic mucosal changes (n=7), endobronchial lesion (n=1), edematous mucosa (n=3), submucosal narrowing (n=1), necrotic plaque (n=2), hemorrhage (n=2), tracheal stenosis (n=1), and/or friable mucosa (n=3). We performed bronchial washings (n=56) and/or bronchoalveolar lavage (n=5). In 24 patients the microorganisms were Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, Moraxella catharralis, Candida albicans, Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumonia, Stenotrofomonas maltofilia, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Pseudomonas aerigunosa. In 34 patients a final diagnosis was established using FB (diagnostic yield, 55.7%). Thirty-one patients had received tacrolimus (10.5±5.3 ng/ng/mL); 22 cyclosporine (187.1±79.3 ng/mL); and 8, sirolimus (6.2±2.2 ng/mL). No significant difference was observed between high versus low drug levels and the culture results (P>.05).


Suspected pulmonary infection is the most common indication for FB in SOT recipients. It may identify the causative organism in more than 30% of patients and should be considered in the presence of a lung infection.

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