Between March, 1981, and August, 1985, twenty-eight heart-lung transplant operations were done in 27 patients at a single institution. 8 patients died in the perioperative period and adhesions related to previous thoracic surgery proved to be a major risk factor for postoperative haemorrhage. Obliterative bronchiolitis developed in half of the 20 long-term survivors, a mean of 11·2 months (range 2-35 months) after surgery: 4 of these patients died, 3 are functionally limited, 2 were successfully treated with corticosteroids, and the remaining patient was successfully retransplanted. The other 10 long-term survivors returned to a normal life with essentially normal pulmonary function measured at a mean of 22·6 months (range 4-42 months) after transplantation. All the surviving patients have evidence of renal impairment related to cyclosporin nephrotoxicity. The results indicate that, although heart-lung transplantation is compatible with essentially normal long-term pulmonary function, the procedure should not yet be regarded as a routine clinical intervention.
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