Objective: Although lung transplantation is viewed as an acceptable option for patients with end-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the survival benefit of this approach is still debated. This study examined whether there was a survival benefit of lung transplantation in a cohort of patients referred to our transplant center with a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis according to American Thoracic Society criteria.
Methods: Forty-six patients accepted for lung transplantation during a 12-year period with a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis form the basis of this study. Survival benefit offered by lung transplantation was assessed using Cox proportional-hazards modeling, with patients on a waiting list as the control group.
Results: Twenty-eight patients underwent lung transplantation (27 single and 1 double), 16 patients died while waiting, and 2 patients remained on the active waiting list. Diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was made on histologic examination of the explanted lung or lung biopsy before lung transplantation. There was a pattern of usual interstitial pneumonia in 31 cases (67%). The 15 remaining patients fulfilled all American Thoracic Society criteria for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The median waiting time for organs was 51 days. Survival after lung transplantation was 79.4% at 1 year, 63.5% at 2 years, and 39% at 5 years. The multivariable analysis showed that lung transplantation reduced the risk of death by 75% (95% confidence interval, 8%-86%; P =.03) after adjustment on potential confounding variables.
Conclusions: Lung transplantation is effective in improving the survival of selected patients affected by idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.