Who is able to have a lung transplant?
A lung transplant is an option for some patients with end-stage respiratory failure, but sadly it is not suitable for all patients with chronic lung disease
- A lung transplant is a major operation
- It is a treatment option for some patients with end-stage respiratory failure
- Not all patients with end-stage lung failure are suitable for lung transplantation
- Your lung doctor and transplant team have to be confident that you are likely to benefit from a lung transplant
- Other treatments may be better for some patients
Who can have a lung transplant?
A lung transplant is an option for some patients with end-stage respiratory failure who have not responded to other medical treatments.
There are many different causes of lung disease that might lead to needing a lung transplant. Common causes include: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary hypertension.
To be able to have a lung transplant, your doctor must believe that the transplant has a good chance of success.
Why a lung transplant might not be your best option
A lung transplant has lots of advantages but it also has disadvantages, which may make it too risky for some patients.
The main disadvantages are:
- A lung transplant is a major operation lasting 6-8 hours
- The surgery can place a strain on your organs
- You have to take powerful immunosuppressant medicines afterwards, which can lead to other serious medical problems
- Some patients experience psychological difficulties afterwards
Reasons why you might not be able to have a lung transplant
Common reasons why a lung transplant may not be the right treatment for you include:
- You are too ill or frail to cope with the surgery and aftercare
- You have recently had cancer, a serious infection, a heart attack or a stroke
- You may struggle taking the immunosuppressant medicines after a lung transplant
Other treatment options
For you to be suitable for a lung transplant the benefits must outweigh the risks. If your lung doctor feels a transplant is too risky, they might advise other treatments instead.
Discuss your options with your doctor
Speak to your lung team to find out what treatment is best for you.