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Veit, Tobias; Munker, Dieter; Leuschner, Gabriela; Muemmler, Carlo; Sisic, Alma; Kauke, Teresa; Schneider, Christian; Irlbeck, Michael; Michel, Sebastian; Eser-Valerie, Daniela; Huber, Maximilian; Barton, Jürgen; Milger, Katrin; Meiser, Bruno; Behr, Jürgen; Kneidinger, Nikolaus (2020): High prevalence of falsely declaring nicotine abstinence in lung transplant candidates.
In: PLOS One 15(6), e0234808
Creative Commons Attribution 901kB


Tobacco use after lung transplantation is associated with adverse outcome. Therefore, active smoking is regarded as a contraindication for lung transplantation and should be excluded prior to placement on the waiting list. The aim of the study was to compare self-reporting with a systematic cotinine based screening approach to identify patients with active nicotine abuse. Nicotine use was systematically assessed by interviews and cotinine test in all lung transplant candidates at every visit in our center. Patients were classified according to the stage prior to transplantation and cotinine test results were compared to self-reports and retrospectively analyzed until June 2019. Of 620 lung transplant candidates, 92 patients (14.8%) had at least one positive cotinine test. COPD as underlying disease (OR 2.102, CI 1.110-3.981;p = 0.023), number of pack years (OR 1.014, CI 1.000-1.028;p = 0.047) and a time of cessation less than one year (OR 2.413, CI 1.410-4.128;p = 0.001) were associated with a positive cotinine test in multivariable regression analysis. The majority of non-COPD patients (n = 13, 72.2%) with a positive test had a cessation time of less than one year. 78 patients (84.7%) falsely declared not consuming any nicotine-based products prior to the test. Finally, all never smokers were test negative. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that active nicotine use is prevalent in transplant candidates with a high prevalence of falsely declaring nicotine abstinence. COPD was the main diagnosis in affected patients. Short cessation time and a high number of pack years are risk factors for continued nicotine abuse.