Vol 6, No 2 (2021)
Review article
Published online: 2021-06-30

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SARS-CoV-2 and lung transplantation. What do we know?

Kajetan Kiełbowski1, Bartosz Kubisa1
Medical Research Journal 2021;6(2):131-139.


Introduction: In 2019, new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread around the globe. The virus can replicate
in the cells of the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia, oedema and hypoxia. In some patients, the
disease will progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which is a life-threatening condition.
Lung transplantation (LuTx) might be the only rescue therapy for severe respiratory failure. Additionally,
little is known about the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on lung transplant recipients. The purpose of this systematic
review is to present current knowledge about lung transplantation as a treatment method for ARDS
associated with COVID-19 infection and to summarize information regarding the management of COVID
infection in lung transplant recipients.

Materials and methods: Literature search through different databases was conducted. Only case report and case series were included.

Results: Out of 525 initial results, 16 studies were included in this systematic review. 7 articles presented
patients with LuTx as a treatment option for ARDS and 9 presented management of lung recipients infected
with COVID-19. A total of 37 patients were included in this systematic review.

Discussion: The course of reviewed patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection was similar and lung transplantation
should be considered as a treatment of last chance when extracorporeal life support cannot be withdrawn.
Further research is still required to assess the impact of new coronavirus on graft function in lung transplant
recipients. Currently, the treatment strategy involves immunosuppression modification and supplemental
oxygen therapy. However, some patients do not present clinical symptoms.

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