Background Donor smoking history and higher fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio2) at reperfusion are associated with primary graft dysfunction (PGD) after lung transplantation. We hypothesized that oxidative injury biomarkers would be elevated in PGD, with higher levels associated with donor exposure to cigarette smoke and recipient hyperoxia at reperfusion. Methods We performed a nested case-control study of 72 lung transplant recipients from the Lung Transplant Outcomes Group cohort. Using mass spectroscopy, F2-isoprostanes and isofurans were measured in plasma collected after transplantation. Cases were defined in 2 ways: grade 3 PGD present at day 2 or day 3 after reperfusion (severe PGD) or any grade 3 PGD (any PGD). Results There were 31 severe PGD cases with 41 controls and 35 any PGD cases with 37 controls. Plasma F2-isoprostane levels were higher in severe PGD cases compared with controls (28.6 pg/ml vs 19.8 pg/ml, p = 0.03). Plasma F2-isoprostane levels were higher in severe PGD cases compared with controls (29.6 pg/ml vs 19.0 pg/ml, p = 0.03) among patients reperfused with Fio2 >40%. Among recipients of lungs from donors with smoke exposure, plasma F2-isoprostane (38.2 pg/ml vs 22.5 pg/ml, p = 0.046) and isofuran (66.9 pg/ml vs 34.6 pg/ml, p = 0.046) levels were higher in severe PGD compared with control subjects. Conclusions Plasma levels of lipid peroxidation products are higher in patients with severe PGD, in recipients of lungs from donors with smoke exposure, and in recipients exposed to higher Fio2 at reperfusion. Oxidative injury is an important mechanism of PGD and may be magnified by donor exposure to cigarette smoke and hyperoxia at reperfusion.