Quality of life can be moderately to substantially improved by lung transplantation, and life may be extended beyond your life expectancy prior to transplantation. It is impossible to predict how long you may survive after transplantation. The most critical period for survival, of a patient and of the donor lung(s), is the first year after transplantation; this is the period when surgical complications, rejection, and infection (see "Risks") are the greatest threat to survival. Patients who survive the first year are more likely to survive 3 years or longer after transplantation. There are patients alive today who had lung transplantation 5 or even more years ago.

Each lung transplant center has survival statistics for its transplantation programs. These statistics are available from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

Types of Transplant:
Single Lung or Double Lung
The transplant team's assessment of your medical needs and the availability of donor lungs are considered in determining whether one or both lungs should be transplanted.

Both lungs and the heart are replaced when the heart has been chronically "overworked" and weakened by long-term lung disease such as emphysema.

Recommended for
Patients with pulmonary hypertension who have exhausted all other treatment options.

Risks/Side Effects

Life expectancy after lung transplantation is shorter than for heart, liver, or kidney transplantation, particularly for PPH patients. Rejection and infection are the two major complications of lung transplantation. Immunosuppressive (antirejection) medications prescribed by your doctors will help keep the rejection process "turned off." Other medications may be necessary to control and treat rejection if your immune system breaks through the immunosuppressive blockade. Following your doctors' orders and taking all medications as prescribed help to prevent or control rejection.

Because you will be taking immunosuppressive medications, your immune system will be less able to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. You will be much more susceptible to infection, and infections are more likely to become severe.

Additional info

Page Reviewed/Edited: November 2010

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