Pediatr Pulmonol 2019 Apr 19. Epub 2019 Apr 19.
Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Background: Pulmonary chronic graft-vs-host disease (cGvHD) after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is characterized by impairment of the small airways. Assessment of lung clearance index (LCI) gained from multiple breath washout (MBW) is more sensitive than spirometry in detection of small airways disease. The aim of this study was to describe the development of LCI during the first year after pediatric HSCT and how LCI relates to other pulmonary function parameters and cGvHD.
Methods: This prospective, longitudinal study included 28 pediatric HSCT-recipients. Spirometry, Sulfur hexafluoride MBW and diffusion capacity of the lungs were performed before and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after HSCT. Respiratory symptoms and signs of cGvHD were recorded at each visit.
Results: Before HSCT, 47.8% had abnormal LCI and 12.5% had abnormal forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV ) Patients with persisting respiratory symptoms 12 months post-HSCT had higher median LCI (factor 5.7, P = 0.0018) and lower FEV z-scores (-1.5, P = 0.033) post-HSCT compared to patients free of respiratory symptoms. Overall, post-HSCT LCI values were 3.49 times higher and FEV was 2.31 z-scores lower in eight patients with cGvHD in any organ system compared with patients without cGvHD (P = 0.0089 and P < 0.0001). LCI values during the first 3 months were not predictive of pulmonary cGvHD.
Conclusion: LCI is a sensitive marker for cGvHD and high LCI values were associated with persisting respiratory symptoms after 1 year. Further evaluation of MBW in early detection of HSCT-related pulmonary complications require larger patient cohorts and closer follow-up during the first months after HSCT.