Outcome of lung transplantation in elderly recipients

Sandra C. Tomaszek, Juan J. Fibla, Ross A. Dierkhising, John P. Scott, Keh Hsien R. Shen, Dennis A. Wigle, Stephen D. Cassivi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: Lung transplantation is a standard treatment option for patients with end-stage lung disease. Lung transplantation in the elderly is controversial due to concerns over anticipated increased surgical risks, inferior long-term outcomes and proper stewardship in allocating limited donor organs. With demographic trends showing an increasing proportion of patients over 60 years old, we evaluated our outcomes with lung transplantation in this older cohort. Methods: Between January 1990 and July 2009, 142 patients underwent lung transplantation at our institution. A total of 15 patients receiving heart/lung transplantation and one patient declining research participation were excluded. As many as 126 patients were analyzed in two groups: <60 and ≥60 years old. Results: There were 65 females (52%) and 61 males (48%). A total of 53 patients (42%) underwent bilateral sequential lung transplantation and 73 patients single-lung transplantation (58%). Median age at transplantation was 55.3 years (range, 21.6-73.1 years) with 94 patients <60 years (75%) and 32 patients ≥60 years (25%). Median follow-up was 4.3 years (range, 0-17.8 years). Overall survival at 30 days was 93.7% with no difference between age groups (p = 0.95). There was no difference between the groups for in-hospital, postoperative complications (p = 0.86), or unplanned readmission rates within 90 days of the hospitalization (p = 0.26). Postoperative pulmonary function (forced expiratory volume in 1. s (FEV1) % predicted) at transplant, 4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after transplantation was not different between groups (p = 0.93). No difference in long-term survival was observed (p = 0.59), with 5-year survival of 52.2% for patients <60 years and 47.3% for patients ≥60 years. Overall, 20 patients developed bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and 13 posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease, which was not statistically different between age groups (p = 0.87, p = 0.37, respectively). Conclusion: Increased age of 60 years and greater, in highly selected patients, does not appear to have a significant impact on the short- or long-term outcome in patients undergoing lung transplantation. Judicious selection of older patients, who are otherwise excellent candidates for lung transplantation, remains a reasonable option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-731
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Elderly
  • Lung transplantation
  • Survival
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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