The Effect of Blood Transfusion in Lung Donors on Recipient Survival

Sayf A. Said, Toshihiro Okamoto, Amy S. Nowacki, Hiromichi Niikawa, Kamal S. Ayyat, Ichiro Sakanoue, James J. Yun, Kenneth R. McCurry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Blood transfusion can have detrimental effects on the pulmonary system, leading to lung injury and respiratory decompensation with subsequent increased morbidity and mortality in surgical and critically ill patients. How much of this effect is carried from a lung donor to transplant recipient is not fully understood, raising questions regarding transplant suitability of lungs from transfused donors. Methods: United Network for Organ Sharing data were reviewed. Lung transplants from adult donors and known donor transfusion status were included; multiorgan transplants and retransplants were excluded. Recipient mortality was evaluated based on donor and recipient characteristics using a Kaplan-Meier survival estimate, Cox proportional hazards, and logistic regression models. We further assessed whether recipient mortality risk modified the donor transfusion effect. Results: From March 1996 to June 2017, 20,294 transplants were identified. Outcome analysis based on transfusion status showed nonsignificant difference in 1-year mortality (P = .214). Ninety-day recipient mortality was significantly higher with transfusion of >10 units (U) vs 1-10 U or no transfusion (8.5%, 6.1%, and 6.0%, respectively, P = .005). Multivariable analysis showed increased 90-day mortality with transfusion of >10 U compared to no transfusion (odds ratio 1.62, P < .001), whereas 1-10 U showed no difference (odds ratio 1.07, P = .390). When stratified by recipient transplant risk, transfusion of >10 U was associated with increased mortality even with the lowest-risk recipients, while transfusion of 1-10 U showed no mortality increase even in the highest-risk recipients. Conclusions: Donor transfusion of >10 U of blood was associated with increased 90-day recipient mortality even in low-risk transplants. This risk should be considered when evaluating donor lungs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1117
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'The Effect of Blood Transfusion in Lung Donors on Recipient Survival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this