To present an overview of the surgical issues in lung transplantation, including the historical context and the rationale for choosing a particular procedure for a specific patient, we reviewed and summarized the current medical literature and our personal experience. Several surgical options are available, including single lung transplantation; double lung transplantation; heart-lung transplantation; bilateral, sequential single lung transplantation; and (recently) single lobe transplantation. Although single lung transplantation is preferred for maximal use of the available organs, bilateral lung transplantation is necessary for septic lung diseases and may be appropriate for pulmonary hypertension and bullous emphysema. Heart-lung transplantation is performed for Eisenmenger's syndrome and for primary pulmonary hypertension with severe right ventricular failure. General factors for consideration in assessment of compatibility of the donor and potential recipient include ABO blood group, height (the donor should be within ±20% of the recipient's height), and length of the lungs (determined on an anteroposterior chest roentgenogram). Graft preservation and minimal duration of ischemia are important. Complications associated with airway healing are related to ischemia of the donor bronchus. We have addressed the issue of donor bronchial ischemia by direct revascularization of the donor bronchial arteries with use of the recipient's internal thoracic artery. Currently, lung transplantation offers a realistic therapeutic option to patients with endstage pulmonary parenchymal or vascular disease.
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