Refractory Pulmonary Edema Caused by Late Pulmonary Vein Thrombosis After Lung Transplantation: A Rare Adverse Event

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After lung transplantation, pulmonary vein thrombosis is a rare, potentially life-threatening adverse event arising at the pulmonary venous anastomosis that typically occurs early and presents as graft failure and hemodynamic compromise with an associated mortality of up to 40%. The incidence, presentation, outcomes, and treatment of late pulmonary vein thrombosis remain poorly defined. Management options include anticoagulant agents for asymptomatic clots, and thrombolytic agents or surgical thrombectomy for hemodynamically significant clots. We present a rare case highlighting a delayed presentation of pulmonary vein thrombosis occurring longer than 2 weeks after lung transplantation and manifesting clinically as graft failure secondary to refractory pulmonary edema. The patient was treated successfully with surgical thrombectomy and remains well. We recommend a high index of suspicion of pulmonary vein thrombosis when graft failure after lung transplantation occurs and is not responsive to conventional therapy, and consideration of investigation with transesophageal echocardiography or computed tomography with venous phase contrast in such patients even more than 2 weeks after lung transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e197-e199
Number of pages3
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes

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