Lung transplant candidates who are about 5'3" or shorter have longer waiting times than taller candidates and are more likely to die within a year while waiting for a lung transplant, according to a study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.
Results from the study based on information from 13,341 adults listed for lung transplantation in the U.S. from 2010 and 2011 showed adults with a height of less than 162 cm (about 5'3") had an associated 60% relative increase in the 1-year mortality rate, a 34% relative decrease in the 1-year transplant rate, and a 39% relative increase in the 1-year respiratory failure rate compared with those of average height (170 to 176.5 cm).
Shorter adults are also more likely to be placed on mechanical ventilation while they wait for lung transplantation, said lead author Jessica Sell, MPH, of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York. She expects the LAS [Lung Allocation Score] calculation will be reformulated to provide greater transplant priority for this disadvantaged group.
The study is the first of its kind to confirm an old 'suspicion' that short people are disadvantaged when it comes to lung transplant surgery.