The impact of the lung allocation score on short-term transplantation outcomes: A multicenter study

Benjamin D. Kozower, Bryan F. Meyers, Michael A. Smith, Nilto C. De Oliveira, Stephen D. Cassivi, Tracey J. Guthrie, Honkung Wang, Beverly J. Ryan, K. Robert Shen, Thomas M. Daniel, David R. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Objective: The lung allocation score restructured the distribution of scarce donor lungs for transplantation. The algorithm ranks waiting list patients according to medical urgency and expected benefit after transplantation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the lung allocation score on short-term outcomes after lung transplantation. Methods: A multicenter retrospective cohort study was performed with data from 5 academic medical centers. Results of patients undergoing transplantation on the basis of the lung allocation score (May 4, 2005 to May 3, 2006) were compared with those of patients receiving transplants the preceding year before the lung allocation score was implemented (May 4, 2004, to May 3, 2005). Results: The study reports on 341 patients (170 before the lung allocation score and 171 after). Waiting time decreased from 680.9 ± 528.3 days to 445.6 ± 516.9 days (P < .001). Recipient diagnoses changed with an increase in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and a decrease in emphysema and cystic fibrosis (P = .002). Postoperatively, primary graft dysfunction increased from 14.1% (24/170) to 22.9% (39/171) (P = .04) and intensive care unit length of stay increased from 5.7 ± 6.7 days to 7.8 ± 9.6 days (P = .04). Hospital mortality and 1-year survival were the same between groups (5.3% vs 5.3% and 90% vs 89%, respectively; P > .6). Conclusions: This multicenter retrospective review of short-term outcomes supports the fact that the lung allocation score is achieving its objectives. The lung allocation score reduced waiting time and altered the distribution of lung diseases for which transplantation was done on the basis of medical necessity. After transplantation, recipients have significantly higher rates of primary graft dysfunction and intensive care unit lengths of stay. However, hospital mortality and 1-year survival have not been adversely affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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