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Lung Transplant

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Lung Transplant

Lung Transplant

A lung transplant, or 'pulmonary transplant', is a surgical process of replacing a failing or diseased lung(s) with the healthy ones of a donor's. The donor can either be deceased or living—depending on the type of transplant needed for the patient.


A patient's eligibility depends on how serious the damage to his/her lungs are, and if these problems can not be improved with any other treatment, a lung transplant is needed.

However, there are certain criteria that a patient has to meet to be allowed a transplant. They include;

  • The patient should have a life expectancy of 1-2 years without a transplant.
  • If older than 65 years, the patient should have no other life-threatening disease for a lung transplant to be considered.
  • The patient should have been cancer-free for at least 5 months.
  • The patient should have no record of alcohol and drug abuse.
  • The patient should be free of any infection and systematic diseases.
  • The patient should have stopped smoking for more than 6 months.
  • Causes

    The causes for lung transplants are often related to diseases and conditions that damage the lungs making them unable to function normally. When there is damage to your lungs, your ability to breathe in order to survive becomes limited, and slowly you can lose your life. In such cases where they can no longer be helped with medications, therapies, and breathing devices can no longer help, and the situation becomes life-threatening, a lung transparent is required to save the patient's life.

    Lung transplantation has therefore been considered as optimal therapy for multiple causes of end-stage pulmonary disease. Some of these severe end-stage diseases include:

    • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Emphysema, Chronic bronchitis, etc.
    • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
    • Pulmonary fibrosis; scarring of the lungs.
    • Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension/Pulmonary hypertension; high blood pressure in the lungs
    • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Histiocytosis
    • Bronchiectasis
    • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis
    • An inoperable tumor in the lung
    • Coronary artery disease, where a procedure to restore blood flow to a blocked or narrowed artery in the heart, in addition to a lung transplant. A heart-lung transplant is needed in these cases.

More about Treatment

A pulmonary transplant is of three types; single-lung, double-lung, and heart-lung transplantation. How long can you live after a lung transplant? Success rate of lung transplant, Cost of lung transplant.

A lung transplant, or 'pulmonary transplant', is a surgical process of replacing a failing or diseased lung(s) with the healthy ones of a donor's. The donor can either be deceased or living depending on the type of transplant needed for the patient.

Lung transplants are conducted for people of all ages. While some suggest an age range of up to 65 years, medicine has improved and has taken it further.

There are different types of lung transplant, and these transplantations can be done depending on a patient's medical condition.

Types of Lung Transplant Procedures

  • Single Lung Transplant; the transplant of one lung.
  • Double, Bilateral Single, or Bilateral Sequential Lung Transplant; all the transplant of both lungs.
  • Heart-Lung Transplant; the transplant of both lungs and the heart.

Most times, patients get lungs transplanted from deceased donors, and in such a case, it is a ‘cadaveric transplant’. However, when a lung comes from a healthy living donor, as in the case of a single lung transplant, it is called a ‘living transplant’. The living donors can go back to living their normal healthy lives with the remaining lung.

Lung Transplant Success & Survival Rate

The success rate of lung transplant and the survival rate of its patients has improved over the years. As medicine advances, it makes more hallmarks, by creating more effective ways of going about procedures and surgeries and increasing the life expectancy of humans. That has been the story of lung transplants. On record, it has been noted that the success rate of lung transplants has been over 80%, increasing the lifespan of 1 year to over 80%, and that of 5 years to over 50%. Although this may look trivial, it is a considerable average as compared to later years. Source:

Lung Transplant Cost

The cost of pulmonary transplantation varies from country to country and from hospital to hospital. The expense is determined by some factors which include; organ recovery and transport charges, the infrastructure, and technology of the hospital, the health complications of the patient, the duration of staying in the hospital, the expertise of the surgeon, the rehabilitation services, the post-transplant medication, etc.

Lung Transplant Preparation and Procedures.

Getting a lung transplant requires a lot of things to put in place. First, after picking out a doctor to be your surgeon—which Anavara can help you do, with our team of professional surgeons—you have to undergo the necessary tests to proclaim you fit for the surgery. When confirmed fit, you will be placed on a waiting list to get a matching donor. Reasons why your life expectancy should be nothing less than a year. Your duration on the waiting list will depend on:

      • Availability of a matching lung
      • Blood group and genotype
      • The size of the donor's lung
      • The geographic distance between donor and recipient
      • The severity of your condition

During this waiting time, you'll undergo emotional and financial counseling. Once you are alerted that the organ will be arriving, and you are taken off the waiting list, you need to make enquiries and prepare in advance for the surgery.

Prior to the Surgery;

    • Consult with your surgeon.
    • Discuss the risks associated with the procedure. Do they outweigh the benefits? How do you reduce them? Find out ways to make the surgery go smoothly.
    • Undergo laboratory and imaging tests to ascertain the state.
    • Get yourself packed for the surgery; cellphone, your medications, and your family/caregiver with you and get admitted, as you wait for its arrival.

Once notified that the organ is available for transplant,

  • Do not eat or drink anything.
  • Take an antimicrobial shower.
  • Run a basic testing
  • Sign consent forms for the surgery
  • See the anesthesiologist.
  • Get prepped in the surgery room.

During Surgery:

  • Once prepped in the operation room, the steps follow accordingly:
  • You receive an IV and get general anesthesia, placing you in an induced sleep.
  • A tube will be inserted into your windpipe to help you breathe, another in your nose to drain out your bowels, and a catheter to keep your bladder empty.
  • You will be placed on a heart-lung machine to help you pump and oxygenate your blood.
  • A large incision will be made on your chest, and through this incision, the old lungs will be removed and replaced by the new lungs.
  • The new lung(s) will be connected to your airway and blood vessels.
  • When the new lung begins working properly, the incision will be closed and sutured back in place.
  • You will be moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to recover.

How Long Does A Lung Transplant Surgery Take?

The duration of the surgery procedure depends on the lung transplant type and the surgeon's expertise. Single-lung transplants take 3-6 hours, while Double-lung and Heart-lung transplants take 8-12+ hours.

Lung Transplant Recovery

Lung transplant recovery is a steady but progressive healing. Mostly, patients are taken off the ventilator within 24 hours of the surgery's completion, and constant surveillance.

On waking up, the pain from the incision will be made bearable with an epidural cath inserted for pain control, or a patient-controlled pain pump that enables the patient to push in the relief, as prescribed by the doctor, into the IV, when it is needed. The patient is placed on immunosuppressive medications to prevent the newly transplanted lung from rejecting the patient's immunity system.

Patients at this time are required to eat healthily, be assisted in doing a lot of breathing exercises, run frequent checks and tests to monitor the state of the heart and lungs, avoid stress and exertion on the heart and lungs and get enough hours of rest.

After an average of 14 to 21 days of stability, the patient can be all discharged, but that doesn't mean that everything is back to normal. The patient should take more 3-4 weeks before returning to his or her everyday routine. Also, taking the following precautions would help:

  • Take medications as prescribed.
  • Maintain recommended breathing exercises.
  • Eat healthy diets.
  • Visit your doctor as scheduled.
  • Don't take any small symptoms you experience lightly.
  • Run your tests as recommended.
  • Avoid people with infections.

Possible Complications

The major complication of a lung transplant is when the immune system begins to fight the new lung like it's a virus. This is called 'organ rejection'. However, 'immunosuppressants' have aided in lessening this risk.

Other complications may include:

  • Blockage of the blood vessels to the new lung(s)
  • Airways blockage
  • Severe pulmonary edema (fluid in the lung)
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

But when looked properly into, these problems can be taken care of.


1. How long do I have to stay on a waiting list to get a donor?

It is impossible to predict how long one can wait to get a donor. For chronic pulmonary diseases that needs immediacy, it may take lesser time. However, it ranges between a few days to many years.

2. What is the average age for a lung transplant?

The average age ranges from 2 to 65 years.

3. How long can you live after a lung transplant?

The number of years a patient lives after a lung transplant is never guaranteed. Everyone has different body systems, different recovery rate, different body structure, and your life expectancy after a lung transplant depend on how long your body can hold out with your new lung.

4. What is a double lung transplant from vaping?

Vaping is the act of smoking e-cigarettes. These cigarettes are highly inflammatory and dangerous for the lungs. The accumulation of the smoke in the lungs over time damages them beyond repair, causing a need for a double-lung transplant.

5. How do I get rid of lung transplant incision scars?

Although the scar can act as an ugly reminder of what you've been through, it takes time to clear off. Keep it moisturized and clean of every infection, and as time goes on, it will fade off.

Top Doctors For Lung Transplant Treatment

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Dr. Mahesh Gopasetty Organ Transplant | Gender: Male | Experience: 13 years | Hospital: Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru

Top Hospitals For Lung Transplant Treatment

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Columbia Asia Hospital, Bengaluru Columbia Asia is an international healthcare group operating a chain of modern hospitals across Indi
Metromed Institute for Advanced Urology & Renal Transplantation (MIART) MIART is equipped with highly advanced Operation theaters with ultra modern facilities of 100 watts
Gleaneagles Global Hospital, Mumbai Gleneagles Global Hospital, Mumbai offers end-to-end clinical, surgical and diagnostic services. The
Ramesh Hospital, Vijayawada Ramesh Hospital’s Main Centre flagship unit, located in the heart of Vijayawada, has been offering
Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket (a unit of Gujarmal Modi Hospital & Research Centre for M