Purpose of review
The majority of lung transplants (LT) performed are in developed countries. In contrast, little is known about the status of LT in developing nations. The objective is to summarize the challenges, present solutions, and review outcomes of LT in developing countries. We hope this review will guide healthcare providers in such countries that are contemplating embarking on this journey.
The key challenges that programs in developing countries encountered included shortage and marginal quality of donated organs, lack of dedicated multi-disciplinary LT team, limited availability of advanced technology and high risk of post-transplant infections. Education and collaboration among government, public, and healthcare sectors was seen as fundamental to building and maintaining a successful program. Despite minimal resources and huge challenges, LT survival rates in developing countries improved and were comparable with outcomes reported by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) Registry.
Starting a new LT program is a daunting task that is complex and resource intensive, especially in developing countries. Improving outcomes indeed provide impetus to continue to persevere in this endeavor with support from all sectors. The findings presented here could help new programs to better anticipate and tackle challenges.