High lung allocation score is associated with increased morbidity and mortality following transplantation

Chest. 2010 Mar;137(3):651-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.09-0319. Epub 2009 Oct 9.


Background: The lung allocation score (LAS) was initiated in May 2005 to allocate lungs based on medical urgency and posttransplant survival. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an association between an elevated LAS at the time of transplantation and increased postoperative morbidity and mortality.

Methods: The United Network for Organ Sharing provided de-identified patient-level data. Analysis included lung transplant recipients aged >or= 12 years who received transplants between April 5, 2006, and December 31, 2007 (n = 3,836). Recipients were stratified into three groups: LAS < 50 (n = 3,161, 83.87%), LAS 50 to 75 (n = 411, 10.9%), and LAS >or= 75 (n = 197, 5.23%), referred to as low LAS (LLAS), intermediate LAS (ILAS), and high LAS (HLAS), respectively. The primary outcome was posttransplant graft survival at 1 year. Secondary outcomes included length of stay and in-hospital complications.

Results: HLAS recipients had significantly worse actuarial survival at 90 days and 1 year compared with LLAS recipients. When transplant recipients were stratified by disease etiology, a trend of decreased survival with elevated LAS was observed across all major causes of lung transplant. HLAS recipients were more likely to require dialysis or to have infections compared with LLAS recipients (P < .001). In addition, length of stay was higher in the HLAS group when compared with the LLAS group (P < .001).

Conclusions: HLAS is associated with decreased survival and increased complications during the transplant hospitalization. Whereas the LAS has improved organ allocation through decreased waiting list deaths and waiting list times, lower survival and higher morbidity among HLAS recipients suggests that continued review of LAS scoring is needed to ensure optimal long-term transplant survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Rationing*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Lung Diseases / surgery*
  • Lung Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Patient Selection*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waiting Lists*