Bilateral versus single lung transplantation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1997 Mar;113(3):520-7; discussion 528. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5223(97)70365-9.


Objective: Traditionally, despite ventilation/perfusion mismatch, single lung transplantation has been the mainstay for end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We tested the hypothesis that bilateral sequential lung transplantation has better short- and intermediate-term results than single lung transplantation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Methods: One hundred twenty-six consecutive lung transplants have been performed from November 1991 to March 1996. Seventy-six have been for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The diagnosis of this disease includes emphysema (80.3%), alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (9.2%), lymphangioleiomyomatosis (7.9%), and obliterative bronchiolitis (2.6%). Twenty-nine transplants have been bilateral and 47 have been single. Mean age was 55.3 for patients having single lung transplantation and 48.8 for those having bilateral lung transplantation (p = 0.001). The distribution of the diagnoses was similar between the two groups. At 6 months, there were 29 survivors of single lung transplantation and 20 survivors of bilateral lung transplantation, with complete data for evaluation. Pulmonary function tests and 6-minute walk tests were evaluated at a mean of 15.4 and 12.8 months after transplantation, respectively.

Results: Sixty-day mortality was 21.3% for single lung transplantation versus only 3.45% for bilateral lung transplantation (p = 0.03). Additionally, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed 1- and 2-year survivals of 71.1% and 63.3% for single lung transplantation versus 90% and 90% for bilateral lung transplantation, respectively. Multiple major morbidities were analyzed. Primary graft failure was significantly reduced in the bilateral group (p = 0.049). Both 6-minute walk tests and forced expiratory volume in 1 second were improved from baseline by both single and bilateral lung transplantation (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Bilateral lung transplantation improves forced expiratory volume in 1 second and 6-minute walk tests significantly over single lung transplantation (p < 0.0001). Both perioperative mortality and Kaplan-Meier survival (to 3 years) are significantly improved when bilateral rather than single lung transplantation is used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in our series (p < 0.05). This is probably the result of significantly reduced primary graft failure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Lung Transplantation / methods*
  • Lung Transplantation / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity