Early success in clinical lung transplantation was believed due in part to the technique of bronchial anastomosis, routine bronchial omentopexy, and avoidance of early postoperative corticosteroid therapy. A recent 16-month consecutive experience at the University of Toronto and Washington University with single or bilateral lung transplantation was compared to study the current short-term effect of these perioperative strategies. At the University of Toronto, of 37 patients undergoing lung transplantation, 30 (group I) had telescoped bronchial anastomoses, coverage of the bronchus with local tissue only (no omentopexy), and routine perioperative corticosteroid administration. At Washington University, of 50 patients having lung transplantation, 44 (group II) had end-to-end bronchial anastomoses wrapped in omentum and received no routine perioperative corticosteroid. In group I, septic lung disease was the most frequent indication (14 of 29 patients), whereas in group II obstructive lung disease was the most frequently encountered condition (24 of 44 patients). Sepsis accounted for three of five early deaths in group I (all due to resistant Pseudomonas cepacia infection in recipients who had cystic fibrosis) and for two of four perioperative deaths in group II (one Pseudomonas, and Candida). In group I, cytomegalovirus prophylaxis was administered to all patients except recipients negative for cytomegalovirus receiving grafts from donors also negative for cytomegalovirus. Cytomegalovirus infection requiring treatment was encountered in 5 of 30 patients in group I in comparison with 23 of 44 recipients in group II where only D+ and R- mismatches received prophylaxis. Routine omentopexy is not essential for successful lung transplantation. Early postoperative corticosteroids do not impair airway healing, but neither do these agents appear to protect against acute rejection episodes. While routine corticosteroids do not predispose the recipient to cytomegalovirus infection, their use may increase the likelihood of postoperative bacterial sepsis.