Great Ormond Street Hospital research shows conclusively that lung transplant for children with cystic fibrosis is beneficial. A US paper published today refers to American practice which differs from ours.
We note the recent research paper by Dr Theodore Liou and colleagues, which has described how children with cystic fibrosis receiving lung transplants in the United States have in some cases had their lives shortened by the procedure )published today in New England Journal of Medicine). This is an interesting paper, but its data refers to the United States and its conclusions do not apply to the UK.
We would like to reassure all families of children with CF living in the UK that the criteria used for listing children for lung transplants in this country are very different from those in United States, and the concerns raised by Dr Liou's study do not apply to the UK. In 1999, we performed an identical analysis of transplants performed at our own centre and demonstrated conclusively that the great majority of children here have their lives extended by the procedure. We anticipate that this survival benefit will be even greater now than it was in 1999, but in order to allay concerns, we are currently in the process of updating this analysis.
The central issue is that in the UK we would not transplant a child unless we thought that they had less than two years of life left without one. This gives a good trade-off for the child in terms of the risks of the transplant versus the benefit.
Any family considering a lung transplant for their child has a detailed discussion of the risks and benefits.
Dr Paul Aurora, paediatric consultant in lung transplantation, is available for comment.
Great Ormond Street Hosptial has the largest paediatric cardiothoracic transplant service in the world and is currently fundraising for a £31m new Heart and Lung centre to house it.
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