Lung Transplants Buy Time for Those With Cystic Fibrosis
Extend lives of people with lung disease by more than four years
TUESDAY, June 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Lung transplants increase survival for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) by an average of nearly 4.5 years, says a U.S. study.
"Initially, the risks from lung transplantation for cystic fibrosis patients are quite high, but the risk drops over time, and it becomes worth the risk in the long run," study co-author Dr. Roger D. Yusen, an assistant professor of medicine in the divisions of pulmonary and critical care medicine and general medical sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a prepared statement.
He added CF patients who have lung transplants must have a double lung transplant for the surgery to be effective in treating their disease.
The study included 247 people with CF on a waiting list for lung transplantation.
After a year, 84 percent of the patients waiting for a transplant were still alive and an equal percentage of those who had undergone lung transplantation were also still alive. After two years, 76 percent of those who had a transplant were alive, compared with 67 percent waiting for a transplant. After five years, 55 percent of transplant patients were still alive.
The study was presented recently at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.
"Next, we hope to see if transplanted patients are not only living longer, but enjoying a better quality of life than those who remain on the waiting list," Yusen said.
People with CF, who live an average of 33 years, develop severe lung disease with a combination of airway obstruction, inflammation and infection. CF is the most common, lethal genetic disease in whites. It also affects other races and ethnic groups.
The Nemours Foundation has more about cystic fibrosis.