Bilateral versus single lung transplantation: are two lungs better than one?
There is a long-standing debate over whether single or bilateral lung transplant provides better short and long-term clinical outcomes. We performed a detailed PubMed search on relevant clinical research publications on single (SLT) and bilateral lung transplantation (BLT). We included studies that were published before and after the implementation of the lung allocation score (LAS). We reviewed disease-specific short- and long-term outcomes associated with each transplantation technique. The majority of published studies are retrospective cohort studies that use institutional data or large patient registries. Outcomes associated with transplantation technique vary by disease specific indication, age, and patient severity. Over the past decade, the relative proportion of bilateral lung transplantation has increased. Increasing adoption of bilateral lung transplant likely reflects the general acceptance of several advantages associated with the technique. However, making a clear, evidence-based decision is difficult in light of the fact that there has never been and probably never will be a randomized trial. Our institutional preference is bilateral lung transplant. However, consideration for the technique should still be made on a case-by-case basis.