Study Examines Impact of Lung Transplants in Children with CF
November 21, 2007
A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that lung transplantation in children with cystic fibrosis does not increase survival for the majority of the children studied.
Researchers used data from the CF Foundation national patient registry and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to study 514 children with CF under the age of 18. These children were put on a waiting list for lung transplantation between 1992 and 2002.
The study provides important new scientific data about transplantation and its ability to maximize the value and success rate of this procedure. However, the study was conducted at a time when lung allocation was based on the patient’s length of time on an organ waiting list. In 2005, a new allocation system was implemented for children over age 11 to favor the sickest patients most likely to benefit from transplantation. Therefore, the study conclusions may not be applicable under the current system.
While lung transplantation is an important option for CF patients who have severe lung disease and no other treatment options, the study results reinforce the CF Foundation’s approach to treating CF and prolonging life. The key to sustained health and longevity for children with CF is early diagnosis, intervention and comprehensive and sustained multi-disciplinary care. This approach—practiced at all CF Foundation-accredited care centers nationwide—has been shown to maximize survival and quality of life in children.
"The goal of the CF Foundation is to reach a day when no child with CF should ever need a lung transplant—thanks to advances in treatment and care," said Preston W. Campbell, III, M.D., executive vice president for medical affairs of the CF Foundation.
The study's lead author is Theodore G. Liou, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. The CF Foundation is collaborating with Liou and other leading pediatric transplant specialists in the United States to explore how to better define which children with CF are the most likely to benefit from lung transplantation.