Bacterial pneumonia is the most common cause of early morbidity and mortality (<2 weeks) after heart-lung transplantation. The majority (76 %) of cultures taken from human donor tracheas at the time of explant grew bacteria. The abnormal immune response of the lung allograft and the common finding of bacterial contamination of lung donors led us to hypothesize that clinically silent bacterial contamination of the donor lung progresses to pneumonia in the recipient and that antibiotic treatment of donors will prevent the development of pneumonia in the recipient. Inocula of Streptococcus pneumoniae were instilled into the left middle lobe of normal and donor dogs to identify the number of bacteria that would result in pneumonia in a normal animal and the amount that, when given to a donor, would result in pneumonia in the recipient. Initial studies established that inocula of 104 colony-forming units of S. pneumoniae did not result in pneumonia in normal or immunosuppressed animals. When 104 colony-forming units or as few as 102 were instilled into the left middle lobe of donors 24 hours before explantation and use of the lung for transplantation, severe acute bronchopneumonia developed in all 18 recipients. Treatment of donors with aerosol and intravenous antibiotics, but not with either alone, prevented pneumonia in the recipients. We conclude that bacterial contamination of the donor lung leads to pneumonia in recipients. Intravenous and aerosol antibiotic treatment of donors with bacterial contamination prevents pneumonia in canine lung recipients. Treatment of human donors with this antibiotic regimen may decrease the prevalence of early bacterial pneumonia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine