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Lung Transplant Program

Lung Transplants at Johns Hopkins

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?

There are several situations where a lung transplant may be considered a viable option. These include, but are not limited to:

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.

Am I eligible for a lung transplant?

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.


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Am I a Candidate for a Lung Transplant?

Lung Transplant surgeon Ashish Shah, MD talks lung transplant eligibility, diseases that may lead to one (cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung cancer) and patients' average age.

Play Now | Transcript

How long will I wait for new lungs?

The Lung Transplant Team
Drs. Ashish Shah, Christian Merlo, Pali Shah, and Jon Orens
are on the lung transplant team at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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).

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.

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.

What is the surgery like?

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.


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Lung Transplants at Johns Hopkins

Transplant surgeon Ashish Shah, MD explains lung transplant surgery, its risks, complications and benefits and what to expect after surgery, such as the kind of scar and quality of life.

Play Now | Transcript
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Heart-Lung Transplants at Johns Hopkins

Transplant surgeon Ashish Shah, MD explains the heart-lung transplant process, history, and conditions it treats, such as childhood diseases that left a weak heart and lungs.

Play Now | Transcript

Contact us for more information on lung transplants.


Congratulations to the Kidney and Lung Programs

The Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice nationally recognized the Johns Hopkins kidney and lung transplant programs for their excellence in post-transplant survival rates, transplant rates, and mortality rates after being placed on the wait list. Congratulations!