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Ann Thorac Surg. 2000 Dec;70(6):1813-8; discussion 1818-9.

Bilateral versus single lung transplantation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: intermediate-term results.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Pulmonary, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, USA.



There is controversy regarding the transplant procedure of choice in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We reviewed our intermediate-term outcomes with single lung transplantation (SLT) versus bilateral lung transplantation (BLT).


We retrospectively reviewed 130 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 84 underwent SLT, 46 BLT. The mean age was 51.1 +/- 1.2 years for those who underwent BLT and 56.2 +/- 0.7 years for those who underwent SLT (p < 0.0001). Male patients represented 65% of the BLT group and 46% of the SLT group (p = 0.04). Spirometry and 6-minute walk tests were obtained preoperatively and at 3- to 6-month intervals. Posttransplant survival and survival from time of onset of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome were calculated by Kaplan-Meier method. The mean follow-up was 32.4 months.


The 90-day mortality rate was 13.0% For BLT and 15.5% for SLT (p = 0.71). Actuarial survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 82.6%, 74.6%, and 61.9% for BLT and 72.2%, 63.4%, and 57.4% for SLT; the favorable survival trend with BLT did not achieve statistical significance. There were no differences in preoperative spirometry or 6-minute walk tests. The improvements in forced expiratory volume in one second, forced vital capacity (FVC), and 6 MWT were significantly greater following BLT. The incidence of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome was 22.4% in SLT and 22.2% in BLT; survival following onset of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome was similar.


For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, BLT is associated with superior lung function, exercise tolerance, and a trend toward enhanced survival. Younger candidates may be best suited for BLT. Given the limited donor lungs, SLT remains the preferred alternative for all other patients.

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