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Lancet Respir Med ; 9(5): 487-497, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537196


BACKGROUND: Lung transplantation is a life-saving treatment for patients with end-stage lung disease; however, it is infrequently considered for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) attributable to infectious causes. We aimed to describe the course of disease and early post-transplantation outcomes in critically ill patients with COVID-19 who failed to show lung recovery despite optimal medical management and were deemed to be at imminent risk of dying due to pulmonary complications. METHODS: We established a multi-institutional case series that included the first consecutive transplants for severe COVID-19-associated ARDS known to us in the USA, Italy, Austria, and India. De-identified data from participating centres-including information relating to patient demographics and pre-COVID-19 characteristics, pretransplantation disease course, perioperative challenges, pathology of explanted lungs, and post-transplantation outcomes-were collected by Northwestern University (Chicago, IL, USA) and analysed. FINDINGS: Between May 1 and Sept 30, 2020, 12 patients with COVID-19-associated ARDS underwent bilateral lung transplantation at six high-volume transplant centres in the USA (eight recipients at three centres), Italy (two recipients at one centre), Austria (one recipient), and India (one recipient). The median age of recipients was 48 years (IQR 41-51); three of the 12 patients were female. Chest imaging before transplantation showed severe lung damage that did not improve despite prolonged mechanical ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The lung transplant procedure was technically challenging, with severe pleural adhesions, hilar lymphadenopathy, and increased intraoperative transfusion requirements. Pathology of the explanted lungs showed extensive, ongoing acute lung injury with features of lung fibrosis. There was no recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 in the allografts. All patients with COVID-19 could be weaned off extracorporeal support and showed short-term survival similar to that of transplant recipients without COVID-19. INTERPRETATION: The findings from our report show that lung transplantation is the only option for survival in some patients with severe, unresolving COVID-19-associated ARDS, and that the procedure can be done successfully, with good early post-transplantation outcomes, in carefully selected patients. FUNDING: National Institutes of Health. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

COVID-19 , Critical Illness/therapy , Lung Transplantation/methods , Lung , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , Blood Transfusion/methods , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/surgery , Critical Care/methods , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation/methods , Female , Humans , Intraoperative Care/methods , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care , Pulmonary Fibrosis/etiology , Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Respiration, Artificial/methods , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/surgery , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
Transpl Infect Dis ; 23(2): e13480, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-804849


Exosomes isolated from plasma of lung transplant recipients with allograft injury contain donor-derived lung self-antigens (collagen V and Kα1 tubulin) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules. We present a case of a 76-year-old, female lung transplant recipient treated for acute cellular rejection with methylprednisolone and anti-thymocyte globulin, who subsequently contracted SARS-CoV-2 and developed a sharp increase in the mean fluorescent intensity of anti-HLA antibodies. Analysis of circulating exosomes during rejection, but before SARS-CoV-2 infection, revealed the presence of lung self-antigens and HLA class II molecules. After the patient contracted SARS-CoV-2, exosomes with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were also found. After resolution of infectious symptoms, exosomes with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were no longer detected; however, exosomes with lung self-antigens and HLA class II molecules persisted, which coincided with a progressive decline in spirometric flows, suggesting chronic lung allograft dysfunction. We propose that the analysis of circulating exosomes may be used to detect allograft injury mediated by both rejection and infection. Furthermore, the detection of exosomes containing viral proteins may be helpful in identifying allograft injury driven by viral pathogens.

COVID-19/metabolism , Exosomes/metabolism , Graft Rejection/drug therapy , Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/metabolism , Immunosuppressive Agents/adverse effects , Lung Transplantation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Aged , Antilymphocyte Serum/therapeutic use , Autoantigens/immunology , Autoantigens/metabolism , Bronchiolitis Obliterans , COVID-19/immunology , Collagen Type V/immunology , Collagen Type V/metabolism , Disease Progression , Female , Glucocorticoids/adverse effects , Glucocorticoids/therapeutic use , HLA Antigens/immunology , HLA Antigens/metabolism , Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/immunology , Humans , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , Methylprednisolone/adverse effects , Methylprednisolone/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Tubulin/immunology , Tubulin/metabolism