How can lung transplants change in 10, 20 years?


New member
The idea of having to get a transplant one day freaks me out, like when people say the success rate is 90% it doesn't seem all that great, cause what if I were that 10% and I die in the hospital?!

is there any way of knowing what the future holds for lung transplants, like 5, 10, 15, or even 20years?

Currently, how long can someone live on a pair of new lungs? Can someone who got a new pair at age 20 live as long as a normal person?


New member
I had my double-lung transplant 8 years ago. A man I knew in my hometown had CF & a lung transplant. He lived for 17 years post-trans. He was tragically killed in a vehicle accident last April. He seemed like he was in pretty good shape before he was killed. I sure wouldn't worry about being one of the 10%. That was the last thing on my mind when I was wheeled into surgery. Just take one day at a time. Do your best to stay healthy. Do all your treatments & do what your doctors tell you. Best of luck, stay healthy!


New member
Considering the first successful lung transplant was done 30 years ago yesterday, I'd say pretty dang far. I know people from my CF Clinic that are more than 15yrs post and doing great. Medications to combat rejection are improving all the time.

Additionally, don't worry about the risk of complications. Complications are becoming fewer and fewer all the time. That and the fact you have a better than 50% of dying within three years without a transplant once your lung function drops below 30%, a 10% risk of complication seems pretty good!

When you consider the average age of CFers is more than doubled in the past 20 years, your chances of living to retirement age are pretty decent. Provided you respect your body by eating properly, exercising regularly ,not smoking, drinking, abusing drugs, etc..


New member
I'm not sure where everyone gets these very hopeful statistics, but everywhere I look for, the survival rates for lung transplants are actually not very good. The danger isn't with the surgery itself, it's with the immunodepression and chronic rejection in the 2+ years following the transplant.

For example :

Survival rates for people with CF after lung transplantation are approximately 91 per cent (for persons without Burkholderia cepacia complex) and 64 per cent (for persons with B. cepacia complex), one year after transplantation. Survival rates five years after transplantation are 68 per cent (for persons without B. cepacia complex) and 34 per cent (for persons with B. cepacia complex).

They don't even know what goes wrong yet :
The one-year survival rates are 94 percent and 90 percent at UCSF and Stanford, respectively. But after that first year, the survival rates dip dramatically, both nationally and locally. Only about 55 percent of patients survive five years after the transplant. Those rates are better at Bay Area hospitals, where about two-thirds of patients can expect to survive that long. Nationwide, only a third of patients live 10 years.

It's unclear what, exactly, goes wrong after the first year. Most patients die of what's known as chronic rejection, which causes the airways of the lung to deteriorate slowly. Doctors don't yet know how to prevent or stop that process.

This gives some hope for transplant patients though. It's about kidneys, but it could apply to all organs in the future.
New ongoing research [...] suggests organ transplant recipients may not require anti-rejection medication in the future thanks to the power of stem cells, which may prove to be able to be manipulated in mismatched kidney donor and recipient pairs to allow for successful transplantation without immunosuppressive drugs. Northwestern Medicine® and University of Louisville researchers are partnering on a clinical trial to study the use of donor stem cell infusions that have been specially engineered to "trick" the recipients' immune system into thinking the donated organ is part of the patient's natural self, thus gradually eliminating or reducing the need for anti-rejection medication.

Now when considering transplant, you have to think of the new drugs like Kalydeco that will come out in the next few years and the advancements in regenerative therapies. You won't be able to benefit from them once you undergo a transplant. If the progression of CF can be stopped with the new drugs, I personally think that choosing not to undergo a transplant and waiting for regenerative therapy (15 to 20 years down the road) is an option that will lead to a longer term survival. However, you also have to take in account quality of life. I would not be willing to live 15 to 30 years with 30% lung capacity.


New member
The 29th on november I celebrate 18 years with my lungs. I know a woman who had heir for almost 30 yeras soon. We both live in Sweden.