Twenty-four isolated double lung transplants (LTXs) have been performed in 22 patients with cystic fibrosis, with a follow-up of 4 to 47 months. Prior to LTX, all patients were colonized with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and ten patients were also colonized with Pseudomonas cepacia. Both organisms were specifically sought before LTX. All patients who grew P cepacia before LTX did so after LTX. Five additional patients only grew this bacterium after LTX. There was no difference between those who grew P cepacia and those who did not in terms of data before LTX for age, weight, pulmonary function, and 6-min walk. After LTX, 7 of the 15 patients who had ever grown P cepacia died. No patient who grew only P aeruginosa died. The median survival in the subgroup with P cepacia was 28 days. Five of the seven died as a direct result of P cepacia pneumonia and sepsis. One died of cyclosporin A (cyclosporine) neurotoxicity with concurrent P cepacia pneumonia, and one died at the time of a retransplant for graft failure (associated with three bouts of P cepacia pneumonia and cytomegalovirus). Four of seven had not grown this bacterium before LTX. There were no perioperative factors, including antibiotic choices, that distinguished survivors and nonsurvivors. Overall 1-year survival is about 70 percent (15/22). Fourteen bouts of P cepacia pneumonia occurred in 12 patients. Four empyemas, one lung abscess, one suppurative pericarditis, and five cases of sinusitis were also due to this bacterium. In conclusion, P cepacia is responsible for excess morbidity and mortality after LTX. This organism is particularly lethal if isolated for the first time after LTX. Factors predicting its acquisition in this setting are unknown. While it is possible that the facial sinuses may act as an unrecognized reservoir or that patients or equipment provide a source, further study into the epidemiology of this organism is necessary to improve the survival of colonized patients undergoing LTX.