BACKGROUND: Lung transplantation is particularly susceptible to the impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, and evaluation of changes to practice is required to inform future decision-making.
METHODS: A retrospective review of the UK Transplant Registry (UKTR) and national survey of UK lung transplant centers has been performed.
RESULTS: There was geographic variation in the prevalence of COVID-19 infection across the UK. The number of donors fell by 48% during the early pandemic period. Lung utilization fell to 10% (compared with 24% for the same period of 2019). The number of lung transplants performed fell by 77% from 53, March to May 2019, to 12. Seven (58%) of these were performed in a single-center, designated "COVID-light." The number of patients who died on the lung transplant waiting list increased, compared to the same period of 2019 (p = .0118). Twenty-six lung transplant recipients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were reported during the study period.
CONCLUSION: As the pandemic continues, reviewing practice and implementing the lessons learned during this period, including the use of robust donor testing strategies and the provision of "COVID-light" hospitals, are vital in ensuring the safe continuation of our lung transplant program.