Comparison of wait times and mortality for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients listed for single or bilateral lung transplantation

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2010 Oct;29(10):1165-71. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2010.05.014. Epub 2010 Jul 3.


Background: Lung transplantation is the one form of solid-organ transplantation in which there is the option for patients to receive one or two organs. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) candidates can be accommodated by either procedure but the decision about these two options remains controversial. Therefore, we sought to determine whether IPF patients listed for bilateral lung transplantation only had longer wait times and higher mortality on the waiting list than those listed for single lungs only. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were also analyzed as a comparison group.

Methods: This study was a retrospective analysis of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database of patients with IPF and COPD listed for lung transplantation between May 2005 and December 2007. An analysis of wait times and mortality in this era as well as the pre-lung allocation score (pre-LAS) era of 2002 to 2004 was performed.

Results: Of the 1,339 patients with IPF listed for lung transplantation, 31.7% were listed for bilateral lung transplantation only, 41% for single-lung transplantation only and 27.3% for either procedure. Patients listed for the bilateral procedure only were at greater risk of dying on the transplant list (p < 0.003), and were less likely to receive a lung transplant (p < 0.012). No difference in outcomes was seen in the COPD patients. Comparatively, in the pre-LAS era, wait times and mortality on the list for IPF patients were significantly greater for all forms of transplantation.

Conclusions: There has been a significant improvement in wait times and mortality for IPF patients since the inception of the LAS system. Nonetheless, despite the goal of transplant equity, IPF patients listed for bilateral lung transplantation might have a clinically meaningful increased risk of pre-transplant mortality. The choice of procedures therefore needs to be made with careful consideration of patients' survival both pre- and post-transplantation. Evaluation of transplant outcomes should not only be based on post-transplant survival, but should also account for the impact of the choice of procedure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Waiting Lists*