Pengcheng Cui, Daqing Zhao, Leping Liang, Pengfei Liu, Shuqin Li

De-Epithelialized Viable Tracheal Allotransplantation Without Immunosuppressants: 5-Year Follow-Up

  • General Medicine
  • Otorhinolaryngology

Objective: Tracheal transplantation could be a better option for patients with long segmental laryngotracheal stenosis or defects, but the need for immunosuppressants limits its widespread use due to the antigenicity of the tracheal epithelium. Chemically treated or cryopreserved nonviable tracheal allografts have no immunogenicity but lead to necrosis and stenosis in long-term outcomes. The present report describes the 5-year outcomes of de-epithelialized viable tracheal allotransplantation without immunosuppressants in a patient with severe laryngotracheal stenosis. Methods: The recipient was a 47-year-old female with relapsing polychondritis affecting the larynx and cervical trachea and producing a 5 cm long stenosis that could not be repaired using resection and anastomosis. A tracheal allograft was obtained from a 45-year-old male donor and treated with a combination of 3% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and organ preservation solution for 138 hours. The allograft was revascularized by heterotopical implantation in the infrahyoid muscles of the recipient for 3 months and then transplantation to the laryngotracheal defect with a split-thickness skin graft sutured to the lumen and a silicon T-tube. No immunosuppressants were used postoperatively. Results: The allograft was de-epithelialized, and most of the cartilage rings remained viable after the treatment. The allograft was revascularized, viable, and mechanically stable after 3 months of heterotopic implantation. No apparent signs of rejection or destruction were observed. The T-tube was removed, and the internal lining of the allograft was repopulated 4 months after orthotopic transplantation, despite the skin graft necrotizing at 2 weeks. Endoscopy and computed tomography showed a patent airway 5 years after orthotopic transplantation. The patient was able to resume her usual quality of life. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that transplantation of the de-epithelialized viable tracheal allograft without immunosuppressants is safe and promising for patients with long laryngotracheal stenosis or defects, especially for those with malignant tumor resections.

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