Between November 1983 and March 1991, we performed 50 single and 40 double lung transplants in 82 recipients. Early deaths occurred in six (13 %) single and in eight (21%) double lung transplant recipients. Late deaths occurred in 11 (28%) single and in one (3%) double lung recipients. Twenty-three of 37 (62%) single and 17 of 24 (71%) double lung transplant recipients have survived at least 1 year after the operation. In patients surviving at least 3 months after the operation (36 of 47 single lung transplant [77%] and 28 of 37 double lung transplant recipients [76%]), significant improvement occurred in arterial blood gases, pulmonary function tests, and exercise capacity. During our initial experience, airway anastomotic complications were the main cause of early morbidity and mortality. With newer surgical techniques and improved perioperative care, airway complications are now uncommon. Infectious complications, either bacterial (Pseudomonas cepacia) or viral (cytomegalovirus), are now the main cause of early mortality. Chronic rejection in the form of obliterative bronchiolitis has become a frequent cause of late morbidity.