Pulmonary complications and respiratory function changes after bone marrow transplantation in children

F. Fanfulla, F. Locatelli, M. C. Zoia, G. Giorgiani, F. Bonetti, L. Spagnolatti, I. Cerveri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We prospectively assessed the frequency of pulmonary complications and the natural course of lung function after bone marrow transplantation (BMT), as well as the effect of several risk factors in a homogeneous group of 39 children who underwent allogeneic or autologous BMT for haematological malignancies between 1992 and 1995. Four patients developed pneumonia within the first 3 months and three 3-6 months after BMT. A considerable percentage of acute bronchitis was recorded throughout the follow-up. Three patients died after the 6 month visit because of pneumonia (two patients) and pulmonary aspergillosis (one patient). No patients had obstructive lung disease syndrome. At 3 months after BMT, forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and transfer factor of the lung for carbon monoxide (TL,CO) significantly decreased, but FEV1/FVC ratio and maximal expiratory flow at 25% of FVC remained unchanged, suggesting a restrictive defect with diffusion impairment. At 18 months, there was a progressive recovery in lung function, although only 11 patients had normalized. Seropositivity for cytomegalovirus had a significant effect on lung function whereas graft-versus-host disease also had an effect, although it was not statistically significant. Baseline respiratory function, type of transplant, type of conditioning regimen and respiratory infections did not significantly affect the outcome of BMT. The high frequency of severe lung function abnormalities found in this study, suggests a careful functional monitoring in all subjects undergoing bone marrow transplantation, even in the absence of respiratory symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2301-2306
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Children
  • Lung function
  • Pulmonary complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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