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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2012 Sep;31(9):972-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2012.05.014.

SaLUTaRy: survey of lung transplant rejection.

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Department of Pathology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.



The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) guidelines on the interpretation of lung rejection in pulmonary allograft biopsy specimens were revised most recently in 2007. The goal of our study was to determine how these revisions, along with nuances in the interpretation and application of the guidelines, affect patient care.


A Web-based survey was e-mailed to pathologists and pulmonologists identified as being part of the lung transplant team at institutions in the United States with active lung transplant programs as determined from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Web site (


Grades B1 and B2 in asymptomatic patients would fall into the same treatment group under the 2007 classification, which combines B1 and B2 into B1R. Also, some pulmonologists would not interpret a pathologic diagnosis of lymphocytic bronchiolitis as grade B rejection, resulting in under-treatment of these patients. Regarding bronchiolitis obliterans, most pulmonologists would treat the patient differently if there were an active mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate, and most pathologists would comment on the presence of such an infiltrate, contrary to the 2007 guidelines, which discourage reporting this infiltrate. We also found discrepancies among pathologists in their interpretation of airway lymphocytic infiltrates, whether eosinophils can be present in bronchial-associated lymphoid tissue, and whether airway inflammation represents rejection or bacterial infection.


The issue of grading and treating airway inflammation in pulmonary allograft biopsy specimens continues to be problematic, despite revised ISHLT guidelines. Clarification of guidelines for pathologists and pulmonologists using evidence-based criteria could lead to improved communication and patient care.

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