Cystic fibrosis is the most common lethal genetic disease occurring in the white population. It is estimated that 3.5% of the 20,000 individuals with cystic fibrosis in North America will die each year of end-stage lung disease. Lung transplantation (heart-lung or double lung) is becoming more frequent as more patients are referred for this procedure. Since January 1988, we have evaluated 60 patients with cystic fibrosis for lung transplantation and have accepted 30 (50%). Nine patients (30%) died while awaiting a donor. Fifteen patients underwent transplantation (13 heart-lung and two double lung procedures). Actuarial survival at 1, 2, and 3 years is 76%. All survivors are without physical limitations. Pulmonary function, as determined by forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and arterial blood gas determinations, is within the normal range. Comparing these data with those of a group of patients without cystic fibrosis who underwent transplantation during the same period did not reveal any significant differences with respect to infection, rejection, and outcome. Preliminary data suggest that obliterative bronchiolitis is less prevalent at 1 year in patients with cystic fibrosis (19%) than in those without cystic fibrosis (41%). Patients with cystic fibrosis present a number of challenges. The problems of pleural adhesions from repeated infections, pleurodesis, and previous thoracic procedures are now readily approached through the bilateral thoracosternotomy (clam shell) incision. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and low-dose corticosteroid therapy are no longer considered absolute contraindications. Both septic lungs must be removed at operation, either with heart-lung transplantation or with double lung transplantation. These data support the therapeutic efficacy of lung transplantation for patients with cystic fibrosis.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HU28500023
View details for PubMedID 1569753