Microbiological findings in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from lung transplant patients in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Lung transplant patients experience a high risk of airway infections and microbial colonization of the lung due to constant exposure to the environment through inhaled microorganisms, denervation, reduced ciliary transport, and decreased cough. Methods: In this nationwide prospective study on Swedish lung transplant patients, we evaluated the microbiological panorama of bacteria, fungi, and virus found in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) obtained the first year after lung transplantation (LTx). Differences in microbiological findings depending of concomitant signs of infection and background factors were assessed. Results: A total of 470 bronchoscopies from 126 patients were evaluated. Sixty-two percent (n = 293) of BALF samples had positive microbiological finding(s). Forty-six percent (n = 217) had bacterial growth, 29% (n = 137) fungal growth, and 9% (n = 43) were positive in viral PCR. In 38% of BALF samples (n = 181), a single microbe was found, whereas a combination of bacteria, fungi or virus was found in 24% (n = 112) of bronchoscopies. The most common microbiological findings were Candida albicans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and coagulase negative Staphylococcus (in 42 (33%), 36 (29%), and 25 (20%) patients, respectively). Microbiological findings were similar in BALF from patients with and without signs of lung infection and the frequency of multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria was low. No significant association was found between background factors and time to first lung infection. Conclusion: This study gives important epidemiologic insights and reinforces that microbiological findings have to be evaluated in the light of clinical symptoms and endobronchial appearance in the assessment of lung infections in lung transplant patients.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Helsingborg Hospital
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung infections, lung transplantation, microbiology
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12973
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number6
Early online date2018 Aug 14
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch