The frequency and complications of respiratory viral infections (RVI) were studied in 50 ambulatory lung transplant patients during a single winter season, using viral antigens, viral cultures and PCR of nasal washes or bronchoalveolar lavages. Patients' survival, episodes of acute rejection and occurrence of bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) or BO syndrome (BOS) were monitored for 1 yr after the study. Overall, 32 (64%) patients had 49 symptomatic episodes. Documented infections included eight due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), one due to parainfluenza virus (PIV) and 10 due to influenza (FLU). Four of the FLU infections were serological rises without symptoms. Overall, 17 (34%) patients had documented viral infection; four patients had lower respiratory involvement and two (one RSV, one PIV) were hospitalised for aerosolised ribavirin treatment. After 1 yr there were three (6%) deaths unrelated to RVI. BO or BOS had occurred in one (6%) out of 17 patients with and three (12%) out of 33 without RVI. Respiratory viruses infected one-third of ambulatory lung transplant recipients in a single season. In conclusion, respiratory viral infection was not associated with subsequent graft dysfunction. Larger prospective studies are required to better define the acute and long-term morbidity of these infections.