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Larger Lungs Linked To Higher Transplant Survival

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Lung transplant patients receiving large lungs have a better survival rate than those getting smaller lungs, according to a study published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

However, the method of matching lung size between patient and donor may not be optimal as researchers at John Hopkins looked at data from 4,520 double lung transplants and 2,477 single lung transplants performed in the United States between 2005 and 2010.

They estimated lung size from body type info gathered on the patients. Those patients who were determined to get bigger lungs had a 30 percent increased chance of living through the first year after the transplant:

"Despite what we thought, bigger lungs turn out to be better. The survival rates for lung transplant, unfortunately, are not as good as with other solid organ transplants like liver, kidney and heart," said Christian A. Merlo of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. "But our study tells us that if we were to routinely transplant larger lungs into patients, we could potentially make a real impact on survival. And that's the goal of research."

Between 1,500 and 1,700 people in the U.S. undergo lung transplantation every year, according to the University of Michigan Transplant Center.

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