Lung transplantation has evolved as an accepted therapy in carefully selected children with end-stage lung disease, offering a prolonged survival and improved quality of life. Presently, more than 100 lung transplant procedures are done in children annually worldwide. Specific aspects of children and adolescents undergoing lung transplantation will be reviewed and an update on most recent developments in the management of paediatric lung transplant recipients will be given.
Certain aspects are unique to children and adolescents undergoing lung transplantation such as a challenging surgical procedure, the effects of immunosuppressant therapy, and the impact of infections on the child's developing immune system and somatic growth. The underlying diagnoses leading to lung transplantation vary considerably by age group. Early referral, careful patient selection and appropriate timing of listing are crucial to achieve the maximal survival benefit. In particular, infectious complications are a common in children. Chronic lung allograft dysfunction remains the major obstacle for a better long-term survival.
Lung transplantation has successfully been performed in infants, children and adolescents with outcomes similar to that in adults. Specific aspects of paediatric lung transplantation include donor shortage for smaller recipients, somatic growth, psychosocial aspects and adherence, and transition to adult care.
Department of Thoracic Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Correspondence to Christian Benden MD, Department of Thoracic Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital Sydney, 390 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia. Tel: +61 2 8382 3672; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org