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Eur Respir J Suppl. 2003 Nov;47:57s-64s.

Current status of lung transplantation.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA.


Two decades have passed since the first successful clinical lung transplant was performed in 1983, and, in the interim, lung transplantation has become the preferred treatment option for a variety of end-stage pulmonary diseases. Remarkable progress has been made in the field through refinement of technique and improved understanding of transplant immunology and microbiology. Unfortunately, donor shortages continue to limit the more widespread application of lung transplantation. In order to address this issue, marginal donors, living lobar and split lung donor techniques, and nonheartbeating donors have been used clinically to increase the number of donor lungs available. Chronic rejection of the lung allograft is currently the major hurdle limiting longterm survival. To date, prevention of known risk factors and treatment strategies have not lessened the devastating toll this process has on lung transplant survival. Better understanding of the cause of chronic rejection is needed in order to develop novel strategies for its treatment. Promotion of immune tolerance is a promising area that could potentially eliminate chronic rejection. The present article discusses recent advances in lung transplantation. It also details the major issues facing the field today. Only through continued clinical and experimental investigation will lung transplantation eventually reach its full potential.

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