Objective: More than 2700 lung transplants have been performed since the initial clinical success in 1983. The evolution in the techniques of lung transplantation and patient management and the effects on results are reviewed.
Summary background data: Improvements in donor management, lung preservation, operative techniques, immunosuppression management, infection prophylaxis and treatment, rejection surveillance, and long-term follow-up have occurred in the decade following the first clinically successful lung transplant. A wider spectrum of diseases and patients treated with lung transplant have accentuated the shortage of suitable lung donors. The organ shortage has led to the use of marginal donors and a limited experience using living, related donors.
Methods: Changes in techniques and patient selection and management are reviewed and controversial issues and problems are highlighted.
Results: One-year survival of greater than 90% for single-lung transplant recipients and greater than 85% for bilateral lung transplant recipients have been achieved. Complications caused by airway complications has been reduced greatly. Obliterative bronchiolitis develops in 20% to 50% of long-term survivors and is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality after the first year after transplant.
Conclusions: Lung transplantation has evolved into an effective therapy for a wide variety of causes of end-stage lung disease. Wider applicability requires solutions to the problems of donor shortage and development of obliterative bronchiolitis.