Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Lung Transplantation: A Review
The purpose of this study was to characterize cardiovascular and ventilatory responses to exercise in single lung transplantation (SLT) recipients with nonseptic, severe obstructive lung disease (SLT-OB). We also investigated whether the hyperinflated native lung in SLT-OB recipients could limit normal increases in tidal volume by mechanically constraining the transplanted lung, resulting in ventilation-perfusion imbalance in the lung graft. Data from six SLT-OB recipients (five women, one man) and six age-matched SLT recipients (two women, four men) with severe interstitial lung disease (SLT-IN) were compared. Resting arterial O2 and CO2 tensions were normal and comparable between the SLT groups. Spirometry results were reduced but comparable between SLT groups. Total lung capacity was significantly larger in patients with SLT-OB than in patients with SLT-IN. Diffusion capacity was not different between SLT groups when differences in alveolar volume were accounted for. Quantitative perfusion to the lung graft was comparable between the SLT groups, but quantitative ventilation was greater in patients with SLT-OB than in patients with SLT-IN. Maximum exercise capacity following SLT-OB was decreased, but was comparable to that of SLT-IN recipients. None of the SLT-OB recipients reached predicted maximum minute ventilation and only one experienced mild arterial O2 desaturation, suggesting peripheral muscle abnormalities from corticosteroid use and deconditioning as limiting factors rather than a ventilatory limitation. Tidal volumes at end exercise in the SLT-OB recipients were normal. Our quantitative lung scan and exercise testing data suggest that ventilation-perfusion imbalance and resulting gas exchange abnormalities from lung graft constraint and compression do not occur at rest or with exercise after SLT for obstructive lung disease.