Objective: Over the past 30 years, lung transplantation has emerged as the definitive treatment for end-stage lung disease. In 2005, the lung allocation score (LAS) was introduced to allocate organs according to disease severity. The number of transplants performed annually in the United States continues to increase as centers have become more comfortable expanding donor and recipient criteria and have become more facile with the perioperative and long-term management of these patients. We report a single-center experience with lung transplants, looking at patients before and after the introduction of LAS. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 1500 adult lung transplants at a single center performed between 1988 and 2016. Patients were separated into 2 groups, before and after the introduction of LAS: group 1 (April 1988 to April 2005; 792 patients) and group 2 (May 2005 to September 2016; 708 patients). Results: Differences in demographic data were noted over these periods, reflecting changes in allocation of organs. Group 1 patient average age was 48 ± 13 years, and 404 subjects (51%) were male. Disease processes included emphysema (52%; 412), cystic fibrosis (18.2%; 144), pulmonary fibrosis (16.1%; 128) and pulmonary vascular disease (7.2%; 57). Double lung transplant (77.7%; 615) was performed more frequently than single lung transplant (22.3%; 177). Group 2 average age was 50 ± 14 years, and 430 subjects (59%) were male. Disease processes included pulmonary fibrosis (46%; 335), emphysema (25.8%; 188), cystic fibrosis (17.7%; 127) and pulmonary vascular disease (1.6%; 11). Double lung transplant (96.2%; 681) was performed more frequently than single lung transplant (3.8%; 27). Overall incidence of grade 3 primary graft dysfunction (PGD) in group 1 was significantly lower at 22.1% (175) than in group 2 at 31.6% (230) (P <.001). Nonetheless, overall hospital mortality was not statistically different between the 2 groups (4.4% vs 3.5%; P <.4). Most notably, survival at 1 year was statistically different at 646 (81.6%) for group 1 and 665 (91.4%) for group 2 (P <.02). Conclusions: Patient demographics over the study period have changed with an increased number of fibrotic patients transplanted. In addition, more aggressive strategies with donor/recipient selection appear to have resulted in a higher incidence of primary graft dysfunction. This does not, however, appear to affect patient survival on index hospitalization or at 1 year. In fact, we have observed a significant improvement in survival at 1 year in the more recent era. This observation suggests that continued expansion of possible donors and recipients, coupled with a more sophisticated understanding of primary graft dysfunction and long-term chronic rejection, can lead to increased transplant volume and prolonged survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-905.e3
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • bronchiolitis obliterans
  • chronic rejection
  • cystic fibrosis
  • emphysema
  • lung allocation score
  • lung transplantation
  • primary graft dysfunction
  • pulmonary fibrosis


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