Publication Date



Open Forum Infectious Diseases


BACKGROUND: A significant proportion of patients with severe and persistent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) require continuous ventilatory support and occasional extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Lung transplantation is a treatment option for patients who develop severe ARDS.

METHODS: Our lung transplant database was retrospectively reviewed for patients who underwent lung transplantation for COVID-19 pulmonary disease at Memorial Hermann Hospital, Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas, from January 2020 to March 2022. We evaluated outcomes of patients who were followed in our clinic at least 6 months post-transplant. Pretransplant patient characteristics, COVID-19-related treatment, histopathology results, and postdischarge course were evaluated.

RESULTS: Among a total of 13 lung transplant recipients, 6 consecutive patients were identified who had a minimum of 6 months of follow-up post-lung transplantation. The average age of patients was 55 years, with a male predominance. The median time to transplantation was 111 days. All 6 patients had significant postinfectious complications due to COVID-19 before transplant. Histopathological findings from explanted lungs showed a predominance of fibrotic change. There were no reported cases of rejection or graft dysfunction. 5 patients had minimal to no post-transplant infectious complications. One patient died 218 days post-transplant from infectious complications.

CONCLUSIONS: Five out of six lung transplant recipients at our institution have demonstrated excellent long-term outcomes after index hospitalization, for a mean follow-up of 13 months post-lung transplantation. Lung transplantation for lung fibrosis due to COVID-19 is an acceptable salvage treatment option. Larger studies are warranted to confirm these findings.


ARDS, COVID-19, hospitalization, lung transplantation, outcomes



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.