Lung transplantation: does age make a difference?

Gregory I Snell, Glen P Westall and Trevor J Williams
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01237.x
Published online: 3 September 2007

Significant similarities between the challenges of lung transplantation in patients of all ages should lead to better access to this life-saving surgery for children and adolescents

Lung transplantation (LTx) is firmly established as a therapy for end-stage lung and pulmonary vascular diseases in patients aged over 18 years and into the seventh decade of life.1,2 However, for those under the age of 18, be they child or adolescent, the role of LTx is less clear.3,4 In Australia, this has contributed to a perception that the risk of undertaking LTx in children and adolescents does not warrant the reward. Indeed, presently in this country, there is no major paediatric hospital offering a lung transplant program, likely recognising the complexity of treating such patients coupled with the potential risk of achieving poor results with a low case load — the reality is that the projected case numbers will only be of the order of four to eight per year across Australia and New Zealand.

  • Gregory I Snell1
  • Glen P Westall2
  • Trevor J Williams3

  • Lung Transplant Service, Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, The Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.



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