Twenty-year experience of lung transplantation at a single center: Influence of recipient diagnosis on long-term survival

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2004 May;127(5):1493-501. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2003.11.047.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the long-term patient outcomes of lung transplantation in a single center.

Methods: Between 1983 and 2003, 521 lung transplants were performed in 501 patients. Major indications were cystic fibrosis (n = 124), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n = 88), alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (n = 63), pulmonary fibrosis (n = 97), primary pulmonary hypertension (n = 35), Eisenmenger syndrome (n = 21), and miscellaneous end-stage lung diseases (n = 93).

Results: The 5-, 10-, and 15-year survivals for all recipients were 55.1% (95% confidence interval: +/-5%), 35.3% (+/-6%), and 26.5% (+/-11%), respectively. The most common causes of death were sepsis and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Despite an increased postoperative mortality rate, patients with primary pulmonary hypertension achieved the best long-term survival (10-year survival: 59%). Recipients with cystic fibrosis without Burkholderia cepacia infection achieved significantly better long-term survival (10-year survival: 52%) than those with Burkholderia cepacia infection (10-year survival: 15%). The 10-year survival was also significantly better in recipients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (43%) than in recipients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (23%). Although the incidence of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome was similar between recipients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (39%) and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (46%), recipients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency died of sepsis more frequently than recipients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (27% vs 6%, respectively; P =.0003).

Conclusions: Although bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and sepsis still limit the durability of the benefit, lung transplantation returns many patients with end-stage lung disease to active and productive lives. Differences in the complications and long-term survival show the important contribution of the recipient diagnosis to the success of lung transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation* / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / surgery
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome