Diffuse Lung Disease & Transplant Network


Lung Transplant Section

Strengthening lung transplant education

The number of lung transplants (LT) performed reached an all-time high in 2019 with a 52.3% increase over the previous decade. Transplants are being performed in older and sicker patients with 35% of recipients being over 65 years of age and 25% with lung allocation scores (LAS) over 60. (Valapour, et al. Am J Transplant. 2021;21[Suppl 2]:441). This growth has led to an increased demand for transplant pulmonologists. Lung transplant education has not kept pace with this growth, and, currently, there are limited avenues and variable models of training. There are about 15 dedicated LT fellowship programs located at 68 transplant centers with widely variable curricula. The vast majority of the 160 general pulmonary and critical care medicine (PCCM) fellowship programs do not have access to hands-on clinical transplant training and are guided by vague ACGME guidelines. A U.S. national survey (Town JA, et al. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2016;13[4]:568) of PCCM programs found that about 41% of centers did not have a transplant curriculum, and training was very variable. Another report found that a structured educational LT curriculum at a transplant center was associated with improved performance of PCCM fellows (Hayes, et al. Teach Learn Med. 2013;25[1]:59). The lack of a structured curriculum and wide variability coupled with lack of information about the training pathways impedes effective training.

Recognizing these issues, the lung transplant steering committee developed two webinars for the online CHEST learning portal ( These provide resources and information for fellows and junior faculty interested in a transplant pulmonology career as well as discuss needs and opportunities to develop a program for specialized training in LT. There is need for a multipronged approach addressing:

–Increase access to specialized transplant education for PCCM fellows.

–Develop a uniform structured curriculum for lung transplant education engaging the PCCM and transplant fellowship program directors as stakeholders.

–Increase collaboration between the transplant fellowship programs to address gaps in training.

Hakim Azhfar Ali, MBBS, FCCP


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