Types of lung transplant

Find out about the different types of lung transplants

Key points

  • There are three types of lung transplant – single, bilateral (double lung) or combined heart and lung
  • Most patients are considered for either a bilateral or a single lung transplant
  • A bilateral lung transplant gives more lung reserve and has better long term survival
  • Bilateral lung transplants are not suitable for everyone and there are more single lungs available

What types of lung transplantation are available?

1. Single lung transplant

In this operation a patient receives one lung. This type of transplant is often carried out on patients with fibrotic lung disease.

Single lung transplant (SLT) may be suitable for patients with a small chest where space is a consideration. In addition, there is more availability of single lungs so this option may be better if there is increased urgency for the transplant.

2. Bilateral lung transplant

Bilateral lung transplant (BLT) is sometimes called double or sequential single lung transplant. In this operation a patient receives two lungs. This is the most common operation performed and is often the best option for patients with cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, emphysema (including that caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency) and pulmonary hypertension

BLT gives more lung reserve and has better long-term survival. However, it may not be suitable for all patients.

3. Combined heart and lung transplantation

In this operation a patient receives a heart and two lungs. This is generally performed for patients with congenital conditions or those in whom a lung condition has caused significant heart disease.

Discuss your options with your lung doctor

Each type of lung transplant has significant advantages and disadvantages for that need to be carefully considered. Your doctor will talk to you about what’s best for you.

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