Dr. Bremner recalls the success rate for lung transplant procedures.
So the immediate answer is that the success is very high. The one-year survival after lung transplant is approximately 90% and to put that in perspective, that’s 90% of patients are alive at the end of the year when almost none of them would be expected to be alive if they didn’t get a transplant. Plus the quality of life, as we have talked about, is remarkably improved after receiving your lung transplant.
Unfortunately, the problem that we have with lung transplant is the same problem we have with many other organ transplants is that there’s this concept of chronic rejection, and in lung transplant, it is seen as a process that we refer to as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, and what that means is, the lungs really deteriorate slowly with time.
So over a period of about five years, a number of people will succumb to this problem of lung deterioration, and so the five-year survival is only around about 50% at this point in time. And that’s 50% of patients that have received, you know, an extra five years of life with a great quality, and we have many patients now that have lived up beyond ten years with good quality of life.
So we are improving all the time and whereas there is a lot of research going on internationally on how to overcome this problem of chronic rejection. But all in all, it’s a very successful procedure.
Dr. Bremner, M.D., Ph.D.:
Ross M. Bremner, M.D., Ph.D., is surgical director of the Center for Thoracic Disease and chief of thoracic surgery at the Heart & Lung Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Bremner completed his medical school training in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand where he graduated magna cum laude and received the Harwood Nash Memorial medal for surgery. He then completed his general surgery training at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, during which time he also completed his Ph.D. Dr. Bremner then went on to complete his cardiothoracic training at USC after which he joined the faculty as assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the Hastings Thoracic Oncology Laboratory.