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Recipient selection for heart-lung transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, CA.


Cardiac transplantation has emerged as a standard mode of clinical therapy for end-stage heart failure, while heart-lung transplantation is still an experimental rather than a standard mode of clinical therapy for end-stage heart and lung disease. Since clinical application of heart-lung transplantation began in March 1981, there has been continual improvement in donor care, surgery, post-operative management, and the diagnosis and treatment of lung and heart rejection. According to our 6-year clinical experience, both patients with Eisenmenger's physiology and patients with primary pulmonary hypertension are considered suitable candidates for heart-lung transplantation. In the future, our recipient population will include small children and patients with cystic fibrosis. Suitable candidates must have good liver and kidney function, and freedom from previous major pulmonary emboli, systemic diseases, and previous thoracic surgery. Patients must maintain their functional and emotional status to pass successfully the difficult postoperative period. Proper donor and recipient selection in connection with improved heart-lung preservation has resulted in excellent operative survival (100%) following the last ten operations, and only the lack of suitable donors can limit the number of heart-lung transplantations in the future.

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