New lungs buy time but don't cure cystic fibrosis

Associated Press SHARE

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who fought for a lung transplant still has a difficult journey ahead. The transplant isn't a cure for her cystic fibrosis, and new lungs don't tend to last as long as other transplanted organs.

But it can extend life by years.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Association, about 150 to 200 people with the disease get lung transplants each year. The foundation's patient registry shows over 50 percent are still alive after five years. That's far lower than for other organ transplants.

The new lungs won't get clogged with sticky mucus from cystic fibrosis like the old lungs. But they remain at risk for lung infections, organ rejection and other problems.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.