Transplant options for end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the context of multidisciplinary treatments
Lung transplantation (LTx) in advanced stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients is associated with significant improvement in lung function and exercise capacity. However, demonstration that the procedure also provides a survival benefit has been more elusive compared to other respiratory conditions. Identification of patients with increased risk of mortality is crucial: a low forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) is perhaps the most common reason for referral to a lung transplant center, but in itself is insufficient to identify which COPD patients will benefit from LTx. Many variables have to be considered in the selection of candidates, time for listing, and choice of procedure: age, patient comorbidities, secondary pulmonary hypertension, the balance between individual and community benefit. This review will discuss patient selection, transplant listing, potential benefits and critical issues of bilateral (BLTx) and single lung (SLTx) procedure, donor-to-recipient organ size-matching; furthermore, it will describe LTx outcomes and its effects on recipient survival and quality of life.