INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Gastrointestinal (GI) complications such as gastric retention (GR) and constipation are common after lung transplantation (LT). Abdominal plain films (APFs) are a low-cost diagnostic tool to detect impaired GI function. The goal of our study was to assess the prevalence of GI pathology seen on APF in lung transplant recipients (LTRs) and to identify associated risk factors.
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of consecutive LTRs followed up between 2001 and 2013. Demographic, radiographic and clinical data were assessed.
RESULTS: 198 patients were included in the study, 166 thereof had more than 1 APF with a mean number of 5 APFs per patient. 163 patients had a detectable radiographic pathology on APF. The proportion of LTR with GR was highest among cystic fibrosis patients (48.5%). Multivariate regression analysis showed a significant association of diabetes with GR with a trend for age and use of opiates as risk factors. Similarly, female sex, advanced age and diabetes showed a trend to be associated with lower GI tract complications. Almost all patients had suffered from at least 1 episode of lower GI dysmotility during a median follow-up of 5.7 years. No clear correlation between GI events and the development of chronic lung allograft dysfunction could be identified.
CONCLUSIONS: We found a statistically significant association of diabetes with GR and a progressive increase in the prevalence of GR over time after LT. Lower GI complications affected >80% of LTR and increased over time. Future studies correlating GI transit with APF findings are needed.