PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent literature has described the emerging role of anesthesiologists as key members of the lung transplantation team and the impact of anesthetic management on outcomes. This review examines the impact of presenting cause of end-stage lung disease (ESLD) on anesthetic management.
RECENT FINDINGS: The four primary causes of ESLD are suppurative, obstructive, or restrictive processes, and pulmonary hypertension. Our recent review of perioperative literature revealed new data regarding preoperative risk stratification, intraoperative management, and postoperative use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support. Major studies specifically about anesthetic management are lacking; however, the principles studied are readily applicable to the design of a perioperative care plan. The most compelling data have resulted in a revolutionary change in terms of intraoperative support and postoperative planning for pulmonary hypertension patients. Historically treated with cardiopulmonary bypass, significant data have been reported describing the successful use of ECMO both as an intraoperative support with superior outcomes, as well as postoperative support for improved stability during biventricular remodeling post graft implantation.
SUMMARY: The application of these updated findings should assist anesthesiologists as they develop internal protocols and external guidelines to integrate within multidisciplinary teams caring for the lung transplant patient.