Benefits and risks of a lung transplant

How a lung transplant can help and problems that might occur

Key points

  • A lung transplant is the best treatment for some patients with end-stage lung failure
  • Most people who have a lung transplant do very well
  • However, not every patient feels better or lives longer after having a transplant
  • There can be serious risks from the surgery and the transplant medicines

What are the benefits?

In carefully selected patients, a lung transplant is usually the best treatment for lung failure in patients who are fit enough for the operation. 

Main advantages of a successful lung transplant: 

  • Most lung transplant patients live longer
  • Most patients enjoy a better quality of life
  • Higher energy levels
  • Work and travel is easier
  • Improved sex life
  • Increased fertility

Learn about the benefits of lung transplants

What are the risks?

A lung transplant requires complex surgery and can cause problems for some patients.

Main complications of a lung transplant: 

  • It is a major operation and comes with surgical risks, like bleeding
  • You will need to take strong medicines to suppress your immune system
  • You may need further surgery to fix any problems
  • Though rare, it is possible that the transplanted lung doesn’t work
  • There is a risk of dying, this is higher in the first few months after the operation

Learn about the risks of lung transplants

Average survival statistics


80 in 100

Patients are alive one year after a lung transplant*

52 to 59 in 100

Patients are alive five years after a lung transplant*

More information

Discuss your options with your doctor

If you’re considering a lung transplant, your first step is to talk to your lung doctor. 

If you and your doctor agree a lung transplant may be a good treatment for you, they will arrange for you to have a series of tests.

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