A study found that obesity is not an absolute contraindication to lung transplantation. Obese lung recipients had similar immediate and short-term survival as non-obese recipients, although their series tended to be older and have higher lung allocation scores (LAS). The researchers analyzed survival rates in 181 patients who were transplanted between May 4, 2005 and July 31, 2008. They pointed out that this period fell after the Lung Allocation Score (LAS) was introduced to replace an older system whereby organs were allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Forty-five recipients (24.9%) were obese (i.e., BMI > 30). These patients were about 3 years older and had LAS scores that were about 5 points higher than non-obese patients. Even so, survival rates were similar in the two groups: 88.4% in obese and 79.7% in non-obese patients at 1 year, and 65.7% and 68.8%, respectively, at 3 years. Dr. Hadjiliadis also noted that the prevalence of obesity is high in patients with certain end-stage lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In fact, obesity occurs in about 25% of lung transplant recipients. He noted that the study was retrospective, with a small number of patients at a single center. He also pointed out, that at the University of Pennsylvania, most double-lung transplants, especially in obese patients, are done via median sternotomy, which overcomes the difficulties associated with adipose tissue dissection and increased pain in obese patients. His team is currently in process of exploring whether the surprising results in their obese patients can be explained by the surgical technique.