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Effects of drug abuse, smoking and alcohol on donor hearts and lungs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Guy MacGowanORCiD, Professor John Dark, Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner


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© 2019 Steunstichting ESOT. Potential heart and lung donors with a history of illicit drugs and/or smoking and alcohol are frequently offered, though there is no clear guidance on when it is safe to use these organs. A review of the literature on effects of drugs, alcohol and smoking on donor outcomes, and the effects of these on the intact heart and lung was undertaken. There has been a marked increase in deaths from opioid abuse in many developed countries, though recent evidence suggests that outcomes after cardiothoracic transplantation are equivalent to nonopioid donor causes of death. For donor smoking, there is an increased risk with lung transplantation; however, that risk is less when compared to further waiting on the transplant list for a nonsmoking alternative. Heavy alcohol consumption does not adversely affect heart transplantation, and there is no clear evidence of adverse outcomes after lung transplantation. There are no overall effects of cannabis or cocaine on survival after heart or lung transplantation. In all these cases, careful donor assessment can establish if a particular organ can be used. In most cases, use of drugs requires careful assessment, but is not in of itself a contraindication to cardiothoracic transplantation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): MacGowan GA, Dark JH, Corris PA, Nair AR

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Transplant International

Year: 2019

Volume: 32

Issue: 10

Pages: 1019-1027

Print publication date: 01/10/2019

Online publication date: 06/06/2019

Acceptance date: 31/05/2019

ISSN (print): 0934-0874

ISSN (electronic): 1432-2277

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/tri.13468

PubMed id: 31172575