Background: Errors in measuring chest X-ray (CXR) lung heights could contribute to the occurrence of size-mismatched lung transplant procedures. Methods: We first used Bland-Altman analysis for repeated measures to evaluate contributors to measurement error of chest X-ray lung height. We then applied error propagation theory to assess the impact of measurement error on size matching for lung transplantation. Results: A total 387 chest X-rays from twenty-five donors and twenty-five recipients were measured by two raters. Individual standard deviation for lung height differences were independent of age, sex, donor vs. recipient, diagnostic group and race/ethnicity and all were pooled for analysis. Bias between raters was 0.27 cm (±0.03) and 0.22 cm (±0.06) for the right and left lung respectively. Within subject variability was the biggest contributor to error in measurement, 2.76 cm (±0.06) and 2.78 cm (±0.2) for the right and left lung height. A height difference of 4.4 cm or more (95% CI: ±4.2, ±4.6 cm) between the donor and the recipient right lung height has to be accepted to ensure matching for at least 95% of patients with the same true lung height. This difference decreases to ±1.1 cm (95% CI: ±0.9, ±1.3 cm) when the average from all available chest X-rays is used. The probability of matching a donor and a recipient decreases with increasing true lung height difference. Conclusions: Individual chest X-ray lung heights are imprecise for the purpose of size matching in lung transplantation. Averaging chest X-rays lung heights reduced uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1051
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Lung transplantation
  • agreement
  • chest X-ray (CXR)
  • error propagation
  • precision
  • size matching


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