Improved Outcomes for Infants and Young Children Undergoing Lung Transplantation at Three Years of Age and Younger

Ernestina Melicoff, David R. Spielberg, Jeffrey S. Heinle, E. Dean McKenzie, Kathleen E. Hosek, Anna L. Schrader, George B. Mallory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rationale: Since its inception, older children and adolescents have predominated in pediatric lung transplantation. Most pediatric lung transplant programs around the world have transplanted few infants and young children. Early mortality after lung transplantation and inadequate donor organs have been perceived as limitations for success in lung transplantation at this age. Objectives: Our aim was to describe our experience in a large pediatric lung transplant program with respect to lung transplantation in infants and young children, focusing on diagnosis, waitlist, and mortality. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of infants and young children under 3 years of age at the time of transplant in our program from 2002 through 2020. Results: The patient cohort represented a severely morbid recipient group, with the majority hospitalized in the intensive care unit on mechanical ventilation just before transplantation. There was a marked heterogeneity of diagnoses distinct from diagnoses in an older cohort. Waitlist time was shorter than in older age cohorts. There was a decrease in early mortality, lower incidence of allograft rejection, and satisfactory long-term survival in this age group compared with the older cohort and published experience. Severe viral infection was an important cause of early mortality after transplant. Nonetheless, survival is comparable to older patients, with better enduring survival in those who survive the early transplant period in more recent years. Conclusions: Carefully selected infants and young children with end-stage lung and pulmonary vascular disease are appropriate candidates for lung transplantation and are likely underserved by current clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-261
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • extracorporeal life support
  • infant
  • lung transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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