Use of the flow-volume loop in the diagnosis of bronchial stenosis after single lung transplantation

A. Anzueto, S. M. Levine, W. P. Tillis, J. H. Calhoon, C. L. Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Bronchial complications, including stricture, stenosis, and/or anastomotic dehiscence, are a major cause of morbidity following single lung transplantation. This report describes a 19-year-old man with a diagnosis of end-stage pulmonary fibrosis secondary to prior chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma who underwent single lung transplantation. The immunosuppressive regimen included cyclosporine, azathioprine, and methylprednisolone sodium succinate (Solu-Medrol) intravenously for six doses during the first 3 days postoperatively followed by oral prednisone. Sixteen weeks following transplantation, the patient complained of dyspnea. Spirometry revealed a decrease in FEF25-75 and the flow-volume curve demonstrated a bioconcave appearance. The flow-volume loop showed a relatively high initial flow phase occurring over the first 2 to 3 s followed by a low-flow phase. The expiratory phase also showed the same characteristics. Bronchoscopy revealed 75 percent stenosis of the bronchial lumen to the transplanted lung. A transbronchial biopsy specimen obtained at that time was consistent with acute rejection. The patient was treated with a methylprednisolone bolus. A repeated bronchoscopy showed the persistence of stenosis distal to the anastomosis. The patient underwent several bronchoplastic balloon dilatations without complete resolution of the stenosis and a stainless steel mesh stent was placed. Repeated spirometry showed marked improvement of the FEF25-75 and normalization of the flow-volume loop. We conclude that the flow-volume loop curve is a noninvasive procedure that may help monitor the patency of the bronchial anastomoses following single lung transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-936
Number of pages3
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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