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School of Medicine
Lung Transplant Program
The first lung transplant at the Johns Hopkins Hospital was part of a heart-lung transplant performed in 1983. Since then, the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center has performed more than 300 lung transplants.
- Why would I need a lung transplant?
- Am I eligible for a lung transplant?
- How long will I wait for new lungs?
- What is the surgery like?
There are several situations where a lung transplant may be considered a viable option. These include, but are not limited to:
- End-Stage Lung disease
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia or chronic lung disease
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Heart disease or heart defects affecting the lungs
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
In general, patients with lung cancer are not eligible for transplants. However, this depends on the type of lung cancer. You are encouraged to speak with your doctor or a member of the transplant team to explore your options.
Some patients may require a heart-lung transplant.
All patients will need to go through a referral process. Read the frequently asked questions about lung transplant referrals.
You will need a comprehensive evaluation to know whether or not you are eligible for a lung transplant. You will work with the a transplant nurse coordinator and the lung transplant team, which includes medical physicians, surgeons, a social worker, a psychologist, and a nutritionist as well as many others.
Once you have completed your evaluation, your health status and history will be presented to the transplant committee. Many of the team members you meet during your evaluation are on the committee. These experts will make the final decision on whether or not transplantation is a good option for you. Good candidates have an excellent support system already in place at home.
The evaluation time takes approximately one to two months.
The Lung Allocation Score (LAS) ranges from 0 (less ill) to 100 (gravely ill), and is an objective, calculated score that factors a number of clinical diagnostics and laboratory tests. Used nationally, the LAS score establishes a method to triage and transplant the most appropriate candidate. Patients with higher scores will receive priority for transplantation.After being approved for transplant, patients are put on the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) list, which comprises all individuals who are waiting for an organ transplant in the country. How long one must wait depends on a number of factors, including blood type, immunologic match, body size, and the patients Lung Allocation Score (LAS).
LAS scores will be updated on a regular schedule, and can be reassessed at any point if your clinical status changes. It is therefore important that the Johns Hopkins Lung Transplant Team remain is close contact with you while you wait for your transplant.
At the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, the median wait time is 2 months.
Because a lung being transplanted is only viable for a few hours, patients awaiting a lung transplant can be called into the hospital for surgery at any time. Prior to surgery, you will be asked to review and sign an informed consent form. During surgery, you may be connected to a heart-lung machine to maintain blood flow and oxygen, however this is not necessary for all patients. After the lung transplant surgery, you will be placed in the intensive care unit; eventually you will be moved to the transplant unit. The average post lung transplant hospital stay is 14 days. Long term, over 90% of patients after lung transplant have no physical limitations and have a vast improvement in quality of life.
Contact us for more information on lung transplants.
#TomorrowsDiscoveries: Strengthening Lungs before Transplants - Errol Bush, M.D.
Dr. Errol Bush and his team are developing a “lung-in-box” program to strengthen donor lungs before transplantation. Their goal is to ensure high quality of life for recipients.
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