Improved technique for bilateral lung transplantation: rationale and initial clinical experience

Ann Thorac Surg. 1990 May;49(5):785-91. doi: 10.1016/0003-4975(90)90023-y.


We previously described a technique for en bloc double-lung transplantation that was initially applied to select patients with cystic fibrosis and emphysema. This procedure is quite complex and associated with several limitations, including a substantial incidence of airway ischemia, postoperative myocardial depression, and cardiac denervation. To address these problems we have developed a simpler procedure for replacing both lungs. The operation is done through a transverse thoracosternotomy and involves sequential replacement of the two lungs. Positive features include separate bronchial anastomoses to reduce ischemic airway complications, elimination of the need for total cardiopulmonary bypass and a period of ischemic cardiac arrest, improved exposure to reduce intraoperative and postoperative hemorrhage, and maintenance of cardiac innervation. Additionally, the technique can be more easily mastered and widely applied. Details of the procedure and its initial clinical application in 3 patients having emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and bronchiolitis obliterans following previous double-lung transplantation, respectively, are described. All 3 patients recovered without complication. Postoperative function was excellent in spite of lung ischemic times ranging up to 91/2 hours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / surgery
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / surgery