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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2000 Jul;120(1):99-107.

Single versus bilateral lung transplantation for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a ten-year institutional experience.

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  • 1Divisions of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo.



Between July 1988 and July 1998, we performed 433 lung transplants. Forty-five patients had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and operations for these patients included 32 single lung transplants and 13 bilateral sequential lung transplants. This study reviews this experience and compares single lung transplantation and bilateral lung transplantation for pulmonary fibrosis.


We performed a retrospective review, including inpatient hospital charts, outpatient clinic records, and telephone contact with patients to verify current health status.


Perioperative mortality was 4 (8.9%) patients. One patient underwent redo bilateral lung transplantation for reperfusion injury and graft failure after single lung transplantation. The median hospitalization was 22 days. Actuarial survival at 1 and 5 years was 75.5% and 53.5%, respectively, which was not significantly different from our survival for all recipients (85.5% and 56.4%, respectively). Seventeen (41%) of 41 operative survivors have died. Late causes of death included obliterative bronchiolitis with respiratory failure (9), malignancy (3), and cytomegalovirus pneumonitis (2). Hospital mortality was 3 (9.4%) of 32 after single lung transplantation and 1 (7.7%) of 13 after bilateral lung transplantation. There was no difference between single and bilateral lung transplantation with regard to hospital stay. Four (12.5%) of the 32 patients undergoing single lung transplantation required tracheostomy, whereas 3 (23%) of 13 recipients undergoing bilateral lung transplantation required tracheostomy.


Single or bilateral lung transplantations offer viable therapy for patients with pulmonary fibrosis. We demonstrate no benefit of bilateral over single lung transplantation for patients with this diagnosis. Survival after transplantation appears better than that of historic control subjects receiving standard medical care at other institutions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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