Although many lung allograft recipients achieve long-term survival, there is a lack of published data regarding these patients' functional status and quality of life (QoL). We evaluated all 10-year survivors at our institution and, utilizing the SF-36 questionnaire, compared their QoL to population normative and chronic illness data. Twenty-eight (29%) of 96 patients survived > or =10 years following 11 single, 6 bilateral and 11 heart-lung procedures. At the most recent evaluation, median FEV(1) in single and double lung recipients was predicted to be 54% and 74%, respectively. Five (18%) patients had BOS score 0, 13 (46%) BOS 1, 5 (18%) BOS 2 and 5 (18%) BOS 3 and median time to BOS was 7 years. Four (14%) patients required renal replacement therapy. Three patients (11%) developed symptomatic osteoporosis, 2 (7%) post-transplant lymphoma and 1 (4%) an ischaemic stroke. Scores for physical function, role-physical/emotional and general health, but not mental health and bodily pain, were significantly lower compared to normative and chronic illness data. Energy and social-function scores were significantly lower than normative data alone. Long-term survival after lung transplantation is characterized by an absence or delayed development of BOS, low iatrogenic morbidity and preserved mental, but reduced physical health status.