Lung Transplant Statistics for Transplants With Live and Deceased Donors

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Transplant Activity

In 2009, surgeons performed a total of 1,661 lung transplants in the United States. Almost all of the transplanted lungs came from deceased donors, with only one lung coming from a living donor. In the beginning of 2009, there were 2,019 people on the waitlist for a donor lung. This number declined to 1,862 people on the waitlist at the end of 2009. Over 2,200 people registered for lung transplants in 2009.

Recipient Characteristics

Compiling lung transplant statistics gives researchers and transplant teams the information they need to improve the registration and transplant coordination process. Most of the people who received lung transplants in 2009 were Caucasian, accounting for 84.7 percent of the lung transplants performed in the United States. African-Americans accounted for 8 percent of the lung transplants performed in the United States, while Hispanics and Latinos accounted for 6 percent and Asians for just 1.3 percent of all lung transplants.

Patients under the age of 18 made up a small percentage of the people who received lung transplants in 2008. Only 0.2 percent of the transplanted lungs went to patients under 2 years of age, while 0.8 percent went to patients ranging in age from 2 to 11 years. Children ages 12 to 17 made up 2.7 of the lung transplants performed in 2009. The majority of transplanted lungs went to recipients aged 50 to 64 years, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. This group made up 48.9 percent of all lung transplants.

Transplant Reason

The reasons needed for lung transplant vary, but they usually involve some form of chronic disease that affects the lungs. The most common reason for lung transplant in 2009 was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which accounted for 42.5 percent of the lung transplants performed. The second most common reason for a lung transplant was emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accounting for 32.0 percent of all lung transplants. Other reasons for lung transplant included pulmonary hypertension and cystic fibrosis.


Patient survival after transplant depends on several factors. Lung transplant statistics for 2009 indicate that 95.6 percent of adult transplant patients survived one month after transplant. The survival rate decreased to 82.86 percent after one year and 66.96 percent after three years. Pediatric survival rates follow a similar pattern. Pediatric patients had a one-month survival rate of 97.30 percent. This rate decreased to 87.98 after one year and 64.57 percent after three years. Some of the factors that affect survival after a lung transplant include post-operative care, adherence to medication regimens, compliance with physician instructions, the presence of infections or other medical conditions and the amount of support a transplant patient has during the recovery period.


Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients: Patient Survival After Transplant

MedlinePlus: Lung Transplant