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December 5, 2001

Patient Selection for Lung Transplantation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: CIGNA HealthCare, Bloomfield, Conn.

JAMA. 2001;286(21):2720-2721. doi:10.1001/jama.286.21.2720

Isolated lung transplantation was first performed successfully as a unilateral graft in a patient with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 1983.1 Beginning around 1990, as the number of transplant centers increased the number of lung transplants also increased rapidly. However, by 1996 the limit of the donor pool was reached and the number of transplants plateaued. Since then, the number of lung transplant operations performed throughout the world has averaged between 1300 and 1400 per year,2 with approximately 65% performed in the United States. Meanwhile, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list of patients with various types of end-stage lung diseases who are awaiting transplantation has steadily grown, and now includes nearly 4000 names.3 This disparity means that most patients waiting for a lung graft will never receive one.