Malnutrition is a documented problem in some types of end stage lung disease (ESLD). Recently, isolated lung transplants have successfully reversed the respiratory failure of patients suffering from ESLD. In this study, we compare the preoperative and postoperative nutritional states of lung transplant recipients using weight-to-height ratios, anthropometric measurements, subjective global assessment, and biochemical blood values. Patients with emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and other types of bronchiectasis, but not patients with pulmonary fibrosis or pulmonary hypertension, were malnourished preoperatively. All groups had normal biochemical profiles. Caloric intake of patients with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis was increased above predicted basal energy expenditure levels. By six months to one year postoperatively, all groups of malnourished patients had significantly improved their nutritional status. Emphysema patients improved nutrition by maintaining preoperative caloric intake levels—however, both cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis patients were able to achieve the same goal with significantly decreased caloric intakes. We conclude that malnourished ESLD patients receiving isolated lung grafts are able to achieve normal nutrition within one year posttransplant. Since this occurs in all cases with a reduced, or at best maintained, caloric intake, more study is needed to elucidate the factors that contribute to ESLD malnutrition.
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