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Reasons for Procedure
- End-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (a genetic disorder)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
|Normal vs. Emphysemic Lung|
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- Blockage of the blood vessels to the new lung(s)
- Blockage of the airways
- Fluid in the lung
- Blood clots
- Rejection of the donor lung (your body's immune system attacks the new lungs)
- Conditions related to taking immunosuppressant drugs
- Anesthesia-related problems
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Tissue typing
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Chest CT scan—to look at the lung structure
- Echocardiogram—to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart
- Pulmonary function tests—to measure the function of the lungs
- Ventilation-perfusion lung scan—a test that examines the movement of blood and air through the lungs
- Cardiac catheterization—to detect problems with the heart and its blood supply
- Arrange for a ride to the hospital.
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Your doctor may ask you to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
- 4-8 hours for a single lung transplant
- 6-12 hours for a double lung transplant
Immediately After Procedure
- The doctors and nurses will monitor your pulse, breathing, and vital functions.
- A catheter will stay in your bladder until you can pass urine on your own.
- You may initially have a breathing tube and ventilator. It will be removed when you are able to breathe on your own.
- You will begin immunosuppressive drugs to prevent your body from rejecting the new lung
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Measuring and tracking your temperature, weight, and blood pressure
- Taking immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of your life
- Pulmonary function tests
- Blood tests
- Lung biopsies at regular intervals to check for lung rejection
- X-rays and EKGs
Lifestyle changes, such as:
- Avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke and other toxic elements
- Exercising regularly to help maintain lung capacity
- Limiting your intake of salt, foods high in fat and cholesterol, sweets, and alcohol
Call Your Doctor
- Breathing problems
- Signs of rejection including fever, chills, achiness like the flu, shortness of breath, decreased ability to exercise
- Signs of infection including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain that you can't control with the medications you were given
- Coughing up blood
- Waking up at night due to being short of breath
- Increase in phlegm production
- Pain or burning
- Sudden headache or feeling faint
- Changes in blood pressure or weight
- Burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Chest pain that is new or worse
- Blue or gray skin color
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
- Review Date: 09/2017
- Update Date: 08/29/2017