To clarify the usefulness of spirometry to assess the function of the lung allograft post-transplant, we retrospectively reviewed 351 sequential spirometry measurements performed by 65 healthy recipients after the 80th postoperative day when the clinical evaluation and fiberoptic bronchoscopy with transbronchial biopsies and bronchoalveolar lavage excluded significant rejection or infection in the allograft. The mean coefficients of variation (CV) and significant values for change (SC) for the FVC, FEV1, and FEF25-75% were calculated according to the type of transplant procedure (heart-lung and double-lung [HL-DL] versus single-lung [SL]), and to the time after transplant when the spirometry measurements were obtained < or = 1 yr versus > 1 yr). The SC for the FVC decreased with time after transplantation for both HL-DL (< or = 1 yr: 17% versus > 1 yr: 7%) and SL recipients (< or = 1 yr: 13% versus > 1 yr: 8%). The higher degree of variability within the first year was primarily due to increasing values especially in the HL-DL recipients. The SC for the FEV1 also decreased over time for HL-DL recipients (< or = 1 yr: 18% versus > 1 yr: 9%) but was similar for SL recipients at both intervals (13%). Our results suggest that decreases of > or = 11% in FVC or 12% in FEV1 in HL-DL recipients and > or = 12% in FVC or 13% in FEV1 for SL recipients indicate a significant decrease in allograft function that may be due to infection or rejection.