A Lung Transplant is a surgery that replaces diseased or failing lung with a healthy donor lung. For people with severe lung disease, a transplant can bring back easier breathing and provide years of life. The survival rate for lung transplant patients has improved over the years.
Who may need a Lung Transplant?
People with severe end stage lung disease are considered for lung transplant. A transplant should be considered when a person is no longer able to perform his daily activities, high dependence on medical care, unresolving disease with medications. Surgery should be considered the best option in these case which can provide new life to the patient. The most common lung diseases for which people undergo lung transplant are.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease. (Chronic Bronchitis)
- Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Cystic Fibrosis
How to prepare for a Lung Transplant?
Once you have undergone the necessary test and met the criteria you will be placed on waiting list for donor lung. Your waiting time depends on the following.
- Geographic distance between Donor and Recipient
- The severity of your condition
- The size of donor lung
- Blood Type
- Availability of a matching lung
- Your Overall health
Your doctor needs to make sure you are fully prepared for the aftereffects of the procedure. When you’re notified that the donor lung is available , you are asked. to report to the hospital or transplant facility immediately. This could come anytime.
Procedure for a Lung Transplant
When a compatible Donor’s lung becomes accessible the members of the surgical team examines it carefully to make sure they are appropriate for Transplant. If compatibility is confirmed, the surgery on the recipient begins immediately while the lungs are in transit to the centre.
Complete unconsciousness is maintained throughout the surgery. Some patients may require cardiopulmonary bypass throughout the surgery.
Recovery after Lung Transplant surgery
Recovery after a lung transplant may vary widely case to case. The weeks after the lung transplant are filled with intensive physiotherapy of the chest and gradual planned activities to ensure long term success. These include.
- Regular test of lung function, chest x-ray, blood test, bronchoscopy
- Regular physical therapy and exercises
- Frequent visits to the doctor
- Medication plan, how to care for the wound in order to avoid rejection or infection.
After recovery from the surgery 80% of the patients say that there is no limitation to their physical activity. If there is immune system’s rejection of the donor’s lung then it can be slowed but not stopped completely. Also, powerful immune suppression drugs have some side-effects which are managed with adjustment of dosage. Age the time of transplant is the one of the most vital factor influencing lung transplant survival.
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