Timing it right: the challenge of recipient selection for lung transplantation

Henry W. Ainge-Allen, Allan R. Glanville


Selection criteria for the referral and potential listing of patients for lung transplantation (LTx) have changed considerably over the last three decades but one key maxim prevails, the ultimate focus is to increase longevity and quality of life by careful utilization of a rare and precious resource, the donor organs. In this article, we review how the changes have developed and the outcomes of those changes, highlighting the impact of the lung allocation score (LAS) system. Major diseases, including interstitial lung disease (ILD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary hypertension are considered in detail as well as the concept of retransplantation where appropriate. Results from bridging to LTx using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) are discussed and other potential contraindications evaluated such as advanced age, frailty and resistant infections. Given the multiplicity of risk factors it is a credit to those working in the field that such excellent and improving results are obtained with an ongoing dedication to achieving best practice.