Consequences of Delayed Chest Closure During Lung Transplantation

Stefana Rafiroiu, Habiba Hassouna, Usman Ahmad, Christine Koval, Kenneth R. McCurry, Gösta B. Pettersson, Mudathir Ibrahim, Douglas R. Johnston, Marie Budev, Sudish C. Murthy, Andrew J. Toth, Eugene H. Blackstone, Michael Z. Tong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Delayed chest closure is commonly used for cardiac surgery. However, insufficient data exist to guide its management in immunosuppressed lung transplantation patients, with unclear long-term consequences. Methods: We performed 769 lung transplantations between January 2009 and January 2016. Of these, 47 (6%) required delayed chest closure because of coagulopathy, respiratory intolerance, and hemodynamic instability. On multivariable analysis, risk factors for delayed chest closure included double-lung transplantation and longer ischemic times. To account for differences between the 2 groups, we performed propensity matching, generating 46 well-matched pairs. Results: Among matched patients with appropriate antimicrobial prophylaxis, we found no difference in 30-day prevalence of pneumonia, empyema, Clostridium difficile, bloodstream, and deep wound infections. There was also no difference in 6-month composite infections. However, delayed chest closure patients received more transfusions within 5 days of transplantation (median, 7 vs 3 units; P < .001), had more intubations > 5 days (80% vs 41%, P < .001), had more severe primary graft dysfunction (39% vs 17%, P = .044), had a longer hospital stay (median, 61 vs 25 days; P < .001), and had worse pulmonary function tests 6 years after transplant (P = .019). Fortunately, estimated survival at 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years between delayed and primary chest closure groups was similar (82%, 76%, and 39% vs 84%, 75%, and 50%, respectively; P = .23). Conclusions: Use of delayed chest closure does not yield more infections or worse long-term survival. However it may be associated with increased in-hospital morbidities and worse long-term pulmonary function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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