Background Adult lung transplant recipients with small chests have traditionally received lungs from pediatric donors, placing an additional strain on the already restricted pediatric donor pool. Performing lobar lung transplantation (LLT) can circumvent issues with donor-recipient size mismatch; however, LLT imparts additional risks. Here, we review our experience using LLT and standard lung transplantation using a pediatric donor (PDLT) for adults with small chests. Methods We retrospectively reviewed consecutive patients with end-stage lung disease and a height of 65 inches or less who underwent LLT (n = 15) or PDLT (n = 15) between 2006 and 2012 at our institution, a high-volume lung transplant center. Results Lobar lung transplantation recipients were older (54 ± 10 vs 48 ± 8 years) and had higher pulmonary pressure (57 ± 11 vs 52 ± 27 mmHg) and higher lung allocation scores (70 ± 9 vs 51 ± 8) than PDLT recipients (all P < 0.05). Mean waiting time was 62 days for PDLT and 9 days for LLT. Postoperatively, the incidence of severe primary graft dysfunction and the incidence of acute renal insufficiency were higher, and the mean intensive care unit stay was longer in the LLT group, but the incidence of bronchial anastomotic complications was higher in the PDLT group because of significant size discrepancy in the main bronchus (P < 0.05). Interestingly, long-term functional outcomes and survival rates were similar between the groups. Conclusions Both LLT and PDLT are viable surgical options for adult patients with small chests. Because of the potential impact on posttransplant outcomes, the technical complexity of transplantation, decisions regarding the best surgical approach should be made by experienced surgeons.
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